As a fifth-round draft pick, Broncos rookie Isaiah McKenzie has the right mindset to make the 53-man roster this fall. He loves special teams.

McKenzie said those words exactly when speaking with Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro of Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 after last week’s OTA practices.

The rookie wide receiver out of Georgia knows that his best chance to make an impact this season will be doing what many NFL players are unwilling, or even unable to do.

“Not a lot of guys can do it,” he told Goodman and Shapiro. “Not a lot of guys can catch punts. You know, 11 guys coming to eat your head off – not a lot of guys can catch the punt and make plays with the ball in their hands.”

As a senior, McKenzie returned 25 kicks for the Bulldogs for 245 yards. His longest of the year, 82 yards, went for a touchdown. As a receiver he put up 633 yards and seven touchdowns on 44 receptions. He also factored into the kicking game for Georgia, and sees himself doing the same in Denver.

“You know, kick returns, I love kick returns as well. You’re running through smoke, you don’t know what’s going to hit you. But I’d rather take those chances than just be sitting on the bench, not doing nothing.”

McKenzie isn’t the only rookie on Denver’s roster challenging for those coveted special teams roles. The Broncos also drafted wide receiver Carlos Henderson and defensive back Brendan Langley, both in the third round, with the expectation that they could contribute on special teams. McKenzie knows what he’s up against.

“I looked at it as, you know, competition. They drafted both two guys in the third round, and they drafted me in the fifth round. I know they’re looking for a returner, and I love special teams. So, me coming in and doing the job the best way I can, knowing the way I play the game, how I do special teams, I feel like it’s competition. I’ve got to go out there and outwork them.”

The Broncos convene for mandatory minicamp this week, then break until training camp in late July. The preseason kicks off on Aug. 10 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Listen to the full interview with McKenzie, including his thoughts on playing at altitude, in the podcast below.

Sorry – this audio content is no longer available.

Catch Afternoon Drive with Goodman and Shapiro every weekday from 4p-6p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 or stream live any time for the best local coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup.