The Denver Broncos and general manager George Paton have snagged a safety in the fifth- round of the NFL Draft two consecutive years. Oklahoma safety Delarrin Turner-Yell was Paton’s choice in 2022 and he’ll have a chance to benefit from two of the Broncos’ most vocal leaders, Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson. Could Turner-Yell see significant playing time this upcoming season?

Over the weekend, the Broncos’ rookie draft class reported to UCHealth Training Center for rookie minicamp, helping them get up to speed on the playbook, meeting the coaches, and learning the process of becoming Denver Broncos.

For Turner-Yell, he leaves behind his experience at the University of Oklahoma where he contributed on the back end of the Sooners’ defense for four seasons, now having to embrace being a rookie in the National Football League.

How might the Broncos’ fifth-round rookie selection get up to speed quickly as the team gets ready to resume organized team activities next week? This is where Broncos’ veteran safeties Jackson and Simmons enter the equation and where Turner-Yell will benefit the most.

So, has the Broncos rookie safety heard from Simmons or Jackson yet?

“I’ve talked to Justin [Simmons],” Turner-Yell said. “He texted me the day I got drafted and he let me know to contact him if there was anything I needed help with or [if I] needed a recovery spot around here. I’m looking forward to those guys coming back so I can learn a lot from them.”

Both Simmons and Jackson have embraced this role since 2019, mentoring some of the younger players in the secondary like P.J. Locke, Caden Sterns, Jamar Johnson and serving as a sounding board for them. In February, Simmons spoke in Los Angeles about his excitement to help build a collaborative culture between players and coaches.

For the veterans, that involves helping guide younger players through the process of being in the NFL, how to navigate the team’s meeting rooms, and more importantly, helping the players find new ways to improve their technique on the field.

After concluding this past weekend’s rookie minicamp, new Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero spoke of Turner-Yell specifically when highlighting players who stood out.

“The one thing that I’ve noticed, and you saw on tape as well is his command. He comes out here and even though he doesn’t know the defense very well, he’s a sharp kid and he’s only been exposed for two days but he just has command in everything does,” Evero said. “There’s confidence in everything he does. That’s the most important thing as a safety—just that communication ability. He’s been very impressive so far.”

These traits demonstrate why Paton and the Broncos’ scouting department identified Turner-Yell as a player they felt would add value to the locker room and to the position room itself.

If Turner-Yell can accelerate his learning process as a rookie even further, we could see him not only playing a role on special teams, but he could develop into a surprise role player early on this season.