The Denver Broncos wrapped up mandatory minicamp last week and the next time they’ll be on the field will be in late July for the start of training camp. Who are three players on the offensive side of the ball that need to break out during training camp?

Will Jarrett Stidham solidify himself as the Denver Broncos true QB2?

The Denver Broncos invested in adding Jarrett Stidham as the backup quarterback behind Russell Wilson this upcoming season. While Stidham was one of the Broncos’ first NFL Free Agency signings, Jarrett Guarantano returns after being on the active roster last season, and they signed Ben DiNucci after rookie minicamp tryouts.

Last year during Broncos Camp, Denver had three quarterbacks including Wilson, Brett Rypien, and Josh Johnson. There was an ongoing training camp/preseason battle between Rypien and Johnson for the backup job, which Rypien ultimately won out.

Rypien is now a member of the Los Angeles Rams, and Stidham looks like the clear-cut QB2. However, he must showcase without a shadow of a doubt that he is the guy behind the starter.

If any NFL team’s backup quarterback has to take over at any point of the season, it’s never a good sign and that would be the case here for the Broncos. However, if Wilson were to miss any time due to injury or struggle performance-wise, Sean Payton wants Stidham to be able to step up and carry the load.

“I think he’s young, but I think he’s someone that we had a good grade on coming out,” Payton said during the NFL Annual Meeting earlier this offseason. “We like the player. I think he played well in the two starts he had this year. If you study closely the San Francisco game, he’s smart at the line of scrimmage. There were a couple of directions really with that position and there were a handful of No. 2’s that either I have worked with, or we felt comfortable with. In this case, I think he’s a No. 2 whose arrow is moving in a direction where we feel like he can become an NFL starter in our league. The evaluation was pretty crystal clear for all of us. I think he’s someone that’s going to be great in the room. He’s smart. Quietly, that was an important sign for us.”

It’s rare that NFL teams luck into a good backup quarterback situation — more notably Chad Henne proved to be viable anytime Patrick Mahomes went down. Nick Foles helped lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl win a few years ago after Carson Wentz tore his ACL. Regardless, it’s difficult to expect a backup to come in and perform better than a starter should, but stranger things have happened.

It will be important for Stidham to come out during camp and perform better than Guarantano and DiNucci during training camp and preseason.

Brandon Johnson can prove that good depth is important to have

An argument can be made that Brandon Johnson technically broke out during Denver Broncos training camp last season, but a preseason injury derailed the excitement that Broncos fans had ahead of last year’s regular season.

Right now, it’s safe to project that the Broncos’ top six wide receivers on the roster right now feature Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, Marquez Callaway, KJ Hamler, and Marvin Mims. It’s unclear how many receivers Payton projects to keep on the active roster for the regular season, but as everybody witnessed last year — depth is important.

Injuries have been the theme of the Broncos’ wide receiver room for the last three to four seasons, and their depth was tested to the extreme last year. When Sutton and Jeudy battled injuries at the midway point of the season, the Denver offense relied a lot on Kendall Hinton and undrafted rookie free agents Jalen Virgil and Brandon Johnson.

Johnson’s preseason success last year didn’t translate into regular season production when activated to the gameday roster, mainly because the offense under Nathaniel Hackett was disastrous.

Throughout organized team activities and mandatory minicamp, Johnson has looked impressive and turned in a strong off-season program. Once training camp arrives, he’ll have to continue to build upon his progress and momentum.

With Tim Patrick being eased back into the swing of things coming off his ACL injury, Johnson has filled in at times where Patrick would normally be and managed to haul in some passes from Russell Wilson during the offseason program. If an injury happens to one or two players at the position, Johnson and Hinton are two players who should be the favorites on paper to help contribute depth-wise.

He’ll have to create separation as new wide receivers coach Keary Colbert looks to evaluate the top six players mentioned above, Johnson, and Virgil, Hinton, Montrell Washington, and Lil’Jordan Humphrey. While Johnson has proven to be a reliable player with solid developmental traits, a new coaching staff means that he has to go out there and prove it all over again.

Could Jaleel McLaughlin become the Denver Broncos undrafted gem of 2023?

Nobody loves undrafted rookie free agents more than Sean Payton. Throughout his time with the Denver Broncos, Payton has mentioned various players he’s coached in New Orleans who made it via the undrafted route. The Broncos have also had an extensive recent history of undrafted players making their active roster dating back several years.

Could Jaleel McLaughlin be the next gem Payton finds? As the NCAA’s All-Time leading rusher, it’s easy to tell why McLaughlin has all of the traits to become a special player for the Broncos this offseason. In particular, he’ll be engaged in a position battle with Tyler Badie and Tony Jones Jr. for the speculated RB3 position that Denver may keep on their active roster this upcoming season.

Throughout the course of the Broncos’ minicamp practices, McLaughlin’s speed and explosiveness have been on display anytime the ball touches his hands. However, it’s important to note that contact wasn’t allowed and players weren’t in pads. This will make training camp even more important for McLaughlin and various other positions.

When the pads come on, here are things that everybody wants to see from McLaughlin — how good is he in pass protection, does he follow his blockers, and does he get north/south versus riding a run too far outside toward the sideline? Another element that will be important to observe is ball security.

With Javonte Williams making progress in his recovery from his ACL injury, it will be important that potential production be spread out amongst multiple backs. Samaje Perine is the main option behind Williams and can be an effective bruiser and receiver out of the backfield, but McLaughlin has all of the tools to be the blur that outruns opposing defenses to daylight.

If the undrafted rookie free agent running back can piece together a consistent training camp and showcase why he’s a valuable asset during the NFL Preseason, it would be a no-brainer for him to make the roster and play a pivotal role for the Broncos.