Denver Broncos Rookie Report: Week 5
The Denver Broncos’ 2021 NFL Draft Class was lauded from the start, as were the team’s undrafted free agent signings. As the Broncos prepare for their Week 6 home fight against the Las Vegas Raiders, the team’s rookie results have been mostly good.
The rookies have shown the promise of being a great class, but in the past the draft classes have started off on a solid footing only to weaken over time. However, Denver cannot allow this to happen with the 2021 harvest.
So far this season, the Broncos have had six or seven rookies on the field fairly consistently between the three phases of football. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4, the Broncos only had one rookie who saw significant playing time on defense, while another contributed to the offense, the others seeing actions in special teams.
The results were promising, but there was reason to be concerned about this group’s play. Let’s start with the most prominent rookie of Orange and Blue.
Patrick Surtain II | CB
The first-round pick showed some coverage issues, but the most concerning aspect of his game was his run defense and tackles. Over the past couple of weeks, there have been several instances of Surtain putting little effort on the edge as a race defender as he is easily manipulated by the wide receiver blocks.
Another problem Surtain showed against the Steelers was his missed tackles. He missed two tackles in the game, which brought him to four this season.
Javonte Williams | RB
Williams continued to be a shining star on offense, recording 86 total yards against the Steelers. Every time he touches the ball, he shows his power and contact balance, which helps him break many tackle attempts.
Williams is currently tied for the third most forced missed tackles at 19 this season (out of 54 carries). The ball carriers with the most and the second have respectively 28 of 90 attempts and 20 of 142 attempts. Among running backs with at least 50 rushing attempts, Williams leads the NFL in breakaway percentage.
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Caden Sterns | S | Jonathon Cooper | OLB
These two have also seen minimal shots in defense as well as special teams. While Cooper played well, mainly as a run defenseman, Sterns struggled to increase his playing time after his great performance in Week 4. Sterns was taken out of position a few times on offense. of the Steelers and was inconsistent in the downhill versus the run.
Quinn Meinerz | OG | Baron Browning | LB | André Mintze | OLB
The remaining trio of rookies who saw the action were only special teams. When Meinerz started playing left guard in week 4, which was preceded by about 25 shots in week 3, he looked good and explained why he should start (especially in contrast with Dalton Risner’s continued lackluster play).
Meanwhile, Mintze has struggled defensively, and Browning is still proving to be late enough to regain defense after spending most of the offseason and training camp injured, and has hardly seen action there.
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