Cornerback Michael Ojemudia expected to contend for Broncos starting job

Oct 12, 2019; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Michael Ojemudia (11) in action against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos are gearing up for the 2020 season, and now that the NFL draft has passed, the roster is beginning to take shape. 

One position Denver targeted in the offseason was cornerback. The Broncos decided to let Chris Harris Jr. walk in free agency, and traded for AJ Bouye to fill the void. That said, the Broncos still had holes within their secondary, so they opted to draft Michael Ojemudia with their 2020 third-round draft choice. 

Ojemudia is projected to be a solid player NFL player but has to work on harnessing his raw talent. The 22-year-old corner is far from a finished product but has the skill set to be a dominant type of player in the league. 

Despite his lack of professional experience, Ojemudia is expected to compete for the starting job, according to Mike Klis

The news is a bit surprising because that would mean Ojemudia would start opposite of Bouye, defaulting Bryce Callahan to the slot. 

Denver inked Callahan to a three-year, $21 million contract before last season, but a foot injury sidelined him for the entire 2019 campaign.

When healthy, Callahan is a starting-caliber player, but his inability to stay on the field has apparently forced the hand head coach Vic Fangio. 

The fact that Denver is considering this move is a strong sign of faith in Ojemudia’s potential. The Broncos sleeted Ojemudia with the 77th pick, despite many projecting him to be a Day 3 selection. 

Ojemudia is 6’5″ and 200 pounds of pure athleticism. While his production was inconsistent at Iowa, his potential was evident. 

Fangio’s defensive pedigree has enabled the Broncos to believe they will be able to develop Ojemudia into a productive starting cornerback at the start of his career. Nonetheless, starting a third-round draft at pick at cornerback would be a big roll of the dice, even for Fangio. 

“Right now, they are planning on Ojemudia to be a starter. They want [Bryce] Callahan to be the nickel. Ojemudia will get the first chance to be the starter,” Klis said on sports radio 104.3 The Fan via Sports Illustrated.

The AFC West is loaded with playmakers across the division, so it is imperative the Broncos beef up their secondary to defend against the likes of Tyreek Hill, Henry Ruggs III and Hunter Henry.

As it stands, the Broncos apparently feel comfortable entering training camp with their current group of cornerbacks, but if Ojemudia fails to rise to the occasion, Denver could ultimately pivot and sign a veteran. 

“If he doesn’t work out, I think you’ll see them go out and try to get a veteran.” Klis said.

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