3 takeaways from the Broncos’ Friday night scrimmage

Drew Lock. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.
Drew Lock. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.

The Broncos conducted their most important practice to date Friday Night, by holding a nighttime scrimmage at Empower Field at Mile High Stadium.

It’s hard to imagine the scrimmage going much better for the Broncos as they saw just about everything they’d want to see. Lock and the offense bounced back after an ugly scrimmage and the young players they’re turning to came through in a big way.

Here are our three biggest takeaways from Friday’s scrimmage.

Lock looking ‘Lock’ed in

It’s no secret that Denver’s hopeful quarterback of the future, Drew Lock, struggled in the team’s first scrimmage at Empower Field at Mile High Stadium, but the second scrimmage was a different story.

Lock opened action up by throwing a perfect deep ball downfield to Tim Patrick behind the cornerback and too close to the sideline for the safety to break it up. After that throw, the offense moved down the field without too much hassle before ending with a 10-yard Lock scramble for a touchdown.

He has legs too folks.

That momentum carried over to the team’s second drive, which was also punctuated with Lock using his legs to get the offense on the board, though this one came through the air. Lock rolled out to his right on third and one looking for Noah Fant on a short flat route, but with that covered he found Courtland Sutton downfield on a crossing route, who made the catch and dived inside the pylon for a touchdown.

The third drive eventually stalled out, but on the first two drives, the Lock-led attack didn’t struggle much to ‘matriculate the ball down the field’ as the late great Hank Stram would say. That theme stayed constant throughout the night and eased the minds of every Denver media personality as far as the offense’s effectiveness was concerned.

Josey Jewell filling in at linebacker

Following the shocking release of longtime starting linebacker Todd Davis earlier on Friday, Josey Jewell was the primary linebacker running alongside Alexander Johnson with the first-team offense.

It’s hard to argue that Jewell is better than Davis, but you could easily argue that the drop-off is so minor it’ll be fairly insignificant for the Broncos this season. Jewell is an instinctive run-stuffer that lacks speed in coverage just like Davis, and for much of Friday’s practice, the difference in the starting lineup was unnoticeable.

New signing Mark Barron also filled in some for the Broncos in some of their subpackages, but didn’t make any big plays. Denver would much rather have fifth-round rookie Justin Strnad in that role, but Barron will be a fine replacement even if he’s a bit of a downgrade.

Essang Bassey upgrading on Isaac Yiadom

Outside of the release of Davis, the biggest and most surprising move made the Broncos this week was the trade of Isaac Yiadom to the Giants in return for a 7th-round pick.

The move was unexpected, but it made sense considering how many mistakes Yiadom made throughout his first two seasons in Denver and how deep the Broncos cornerback room is. By moving on from Yiadom, the Broncos cleared up a roster spot for one of their young defensive backs that’s been impressing in camp.

Enter undrafted free agent Essang Bassey. Bassey is a pure slot corner — though it wouldn’t be overly surprising, if he saw some work at safety as well — that should serve as Callahan’s primary backup this season.

Fangio surprised him with first-team reps earlier to see how the undrafted rookie would respond, and Bassey hasn’t looked back.

He performed well in Friday’s scrimmage and seemed constantly aware of where the ball was or where it was headed. His size will make tackling and covering larger receivers an issue, but he’s a smart, instinctive player that will know his responsibilities and perform them well for the Broncos this year.

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