On Tuesday, the Denver Broncos held their final full-speed, full-pads practice before the Dallas Cowboys come to town for practice on Thursday.

With Tuesday’s practice being so consequential, which players left a lasting impression, both positively and negatively? Let’s take a look in this edition of the Broncos Stock Report.

Who’s Rising for the Denver Broncos?

Russell Wilson lighting it up at Denver Broncos training camp. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.

Russell Wilson lighting it up at Broncos training camp. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.

WR Depth

With Tim Patrick done for the season and Courtland Sutton out for Tuesday’s practice, the Denver Broncos’ depth receivers had to step up, and step up they did.

Kendall Hinton was back for his first full practice in a while and had an impressive showing after an ugly drop early on during the first team period. Hinton was quick to rebound, and his crisp routes and acrobatic ability stood out throughout the day. Hinton will likely be the fourth wide receiver on Denver’s depth chart when all is said and done.

However, one that is sneakily nipping at Hinton’s heels for that honor is undrafted free agent Brandon Johnson. Johnson saw the most time with Russell Wilson today, outside of Hinton and Jerry Jeudy, and did a great job in those snaps. He projects as a prototypical Z receiver, who wins with his route running and agility, and should provide some solid depth behind Jeudy in that regard. His special teams prowess also makes it very likely he ends up on the final roster.

Speaking of Jeudy, the 2020 first-round pick also had a terrific day at practice today. His day served as an anti-Pat-Shurmur showcase, with Jeudy taking an end-around for a massive gain, and hauling in numerous passes on deep routes — which he wasn’t given the privilege to run under Shurmur. One of those deep completions was a touchdown that came at Patrick Surtain II’s expense, and it marked just the third time all camp that Surtain had been beaten that badly, and the second time it’s happened at the hands of Jeudy.

Finally, Seth Williams had the terrific day so many in Broncos Country were waiting on. Now with Patrick out, the Broncos are lacking size at receiver, and Williams could help replace that. Williams was the go-to target during team periods for both Brett Rypien and Josh Johnson on Tuesday, and he made several tough catches.

Faion Hicks

Prior to training camp, Faion Hicks was a bit of an afterthought. His Wisconsin tape was easy to like, but it was also clear to see why he lasted until the seventh round, and it seemed likely he would end up on the practice squad, as many late picks do.

However, with how he’s been performing as of late, the Broncos might have to roster him.

The Denver Broncos are scrambling for depth at nickel-corner and Hicks has stepped up in a major way since K’Waun Williams’ injury.

He hasn’t been quite as impressive as Damarri Mathis, who is flying up the depth chart, but he’s still been much better technically than one would expect to see from a rookie corner, and he has plenty of athletic tools.

Corliss Waitman

Next up, is Corliss Waitman, who might have just taken the lead in the punter battle on Tuesday, after a head-to-head practice competition with incumbent Sam Martin.

During practice, the Broncos practiced special teams with an 11-on-11 punt team period that operated at full speed. It was the best look we’ve gotten at the punters and the special teams unit all training camp, and Waitman stood out.

The session started with Martin punting the ball normally four times — one of which was returned, one which was downed inside the five, one that sailed over Montrell Washington’s head for a touchback, and finally, one that came off Martin’s foot wrong and fluttered towards the sidelines for a very short punt. Then, Martin ended his turn by attempting a coffin-corner punt — with the aim of pinning the returner back deep and forcing a fair catch — and Washington fair-caught it around the 15 yard line.

Next up, was Waitman, who played the role of Zeus — launching thunderous bombs down from the heavens.

All of Waitman’s normal punts had hang times over five seconds, which is phenomenal, and traveled over 50 yards downfield. He then topped himself during the coffin-corner session, launching two punts (with around a 4.9-second hangtime, which is absurd for a short-range punt), pinning the returners back inside the 10, and then inside the five.

If Waitman can maintain that consistency through the preseason, this will be a no-brainer.

Eric Tomlinson

After addressing those longer sections, we’ll have some quick hitters that have all seen their stock rise considerably over the last few days of camp.

Eric Tomlinson is one of those names. You likely haven’t seen a ton of training camp hype around him, and that’s understandable considering he hasn’t been amazing, but he deserves more notice nonetheless.

Tomlinson has a combined two receptions for eight yards over the last three NFL seasons, but you would have no idea that’s the case watching him out there at camp. Again, he doesn’t look like a 500-yard receiver, but he does look like a functional target in the passing game, and that’s more than Denver was projected to get out of him.

If that versatility carries over to the regular season, it will be huge, as it will force opposing defenses to respect Tomlinson as a receiver, making him a more effective blocker, and his time on the field more impactful.

Russell Wilson

Surprise surprise, Russell Wilson has been phenomenal at practice.

He’s thrown countless beautiful deep balls, threaded narrow windows, showcased impressive wheels while scrambling, and yet, the most impressive part of his training camp performance might be the effect on the team’s energy.

This team has a get-shit-done approach the Denver Broncos haven’t really seen since Peyton Manning retired, and it’s easy to see why.

Not just that, but it seems Wilson has been making a point of attacking the short-to-intermediate part of the field — the supposed inability to do so has long been viewed as Wilson’s kryptonite — and has been pretty effective at doing so.

There is no cause for concern. Quarterback is just a low-hanging conversational topic that pushes clicks.

Unsung IDL heroes

As we’ll discuss briefly, the offensive line has been struggling quite a bit in camp, and two under-the-radar defensive linemen have been serious benefactors of those struggles.

Matt Henningsen and Marquiss Spencer have started to heat up in recent days and might push for a roster spot, as training camp nears its close.

On Tuesday, Henningsen had a terrific run-stuff where he tore past the guard inside so quickly that he was in the backfield, waiting on the running back to receive the handoff to wrap him up.

Meanwhile, Spencer tallied multiple sacks as an interior rusher on Friday, so Broncos Country shouldn’t overlook 2021’s late draft pick.

Who’s Falling?

Denver Broncos center Lloyd Cushenberry III (79) and tackle Casey Tucker (74) during training camp at the UCHealth Training Center.

Jul 27, 2022; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos center Lloyd Cushenberry III (79) and tackle Casey Tucker (74) during training camp at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Denver’s backup QB situation

This has been previously discussed in this column, but it has to be brought up again.

Denver’s backup quarterbacks are really not looking good, and they should do something about it.

Josh Johnson has struggled all throughout camp with his ball placement, and while Brett Rypien has been better, that has much more to do with Johnson’s shoddy performance than his own personal development.

The truth of the matter is, Rypien has had a pretty rough time too.

Now, a common argument that’s been laid out in support of the current backups has been, ‘well what team isn’t screwed without their superstar quarterback?’

It’s true that losing your star quarterback is always a crushing blow, but there are different tiers of backup plans, and the Broncos have some of the lowest-tier backup plans around. You would hope that if your starter misses three games, you have a backup that can come in and win at least one, in order to make sure the season stays afloat.

Right now, it’s hard to believe the Denver Broncos have such a backup

Offensive Line

Over the last few days of camp, the offensive line has been absolutely whooped by the defensive line.

Bradley Chubb has mauled Garett Bolles, Dre’Mont Jones has consistently sliced through the interior, Malik Reed and Baron Browning are making big plays on Calvin Anderson. Plus, the problems don’t start there. The second unit has also been getting beat soundly by the defense, and that’s a trend Denver can’t allow to continue into the regular season.

Wilson is having to dodge a sack on seemingly every dropback the past couple of days, and the Broncos don’t have a good enough backup quarterback situation to believe they can survive any sort of absence from Wilson.

The line has to prove these last few days of camp have been a mirage, because if it carries into meaningful games, it will shipwreck the Denver Broncos’ season.