One thing the Denver Broncos did this offseason was adding enough depth and competition at some of the team’s most pivotal positions. Because of the depth they added, it makes the road even more difficult for some players to make the active roster this upcoming season.

Denver Broncos depth at wide receiver makes path for Montrell Washington tougher

Last year the Denver Broncos added Montrell Washington in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft because of his capabilities as an explosive return option. Washington experienced various highs and lows and still has the potential to be an impact player for them on special teams, but he’ll have to starve off competition.

In this year’s NFL Draft, the Broncos added Marvin Mims, who is not only an explosive option in the return game but is projected to have a significant role inside Sean Payton’s offense as well. Because of this, it will be crucial for Washington to demonstrate throughout training camp and the NFL Preseason that he can also make plays on the offensive side of the ball.

There’s no denying that Washington can impact the Broncos’ return game because he demonstrated that last season. Consistency is the ultimate key for him and that is an area where he struggled last season before being benched for the final two games of the year. Former Broncos interim head coach Jerry Rosburg noted that Washington has the skills necessary to be a returner in the league, but needed to find consistency and improve in some fundamentals.

New special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica and legendary special teams coach Mike Westhoff can help Washington with these specific areas and that’s been the area of focus so far throughout Broncos OTAs.

He’ll have to overtake players like Mims, Kendall Hinton, Jalen Virgil, Jaleel McLaughlin, and Tremon Smith in the return game in order to make a strong case for himself. On top of that, the Broncos’ depth at wide receiver is very extensive ahead of training camp which will make this camp even more crucial for Washington to capitalize on every opportunity he receives.

How will Broncos running back depth shake out?

As Javonte Williams continues to make progress in his return from last season’s ACL injury, the Denver Broncos running back room seems to be in an ideal spot ahead of training camp. New head coach Sean Payton brought in somebody at the position earlier this offseason that he’s familiar with and that is Tony Jones Jr.

Jones Jr. is one of five total rushers on the Broncos current roster and will have to compete against players like Tyler Badie and undrafted rookie free agent Jaleel McLaughlin in order to win the RB3 job. Right now it’s hard to gauge how well backs are performing in OTAs when the offensive and defensive lines aren’t able to fully engage in contact.

Once the pads come on during training camp, how each rusher hits the hole, demonstrates the ability to follow their blocks, and protects in passing situations will be key measures that evaluate who gives the team the best chance if they were to get called up.

On paper, players like Badie and McLaughlin seem to have the most appeal after watching various practices, but Jones Jr. has every opportunity ahead of him to make plays in camp and ultimately the preseason. When the Broncos face other teams, it will be easier to evaluate who separates themselves from the pack.

Will the Broncos moves at safety impact DTY?

Delarrin Turner-Yell is another player to keep an eye on for the Denver Broncos this offseason. In free agency, the Broncos re-signed P.J. Locke and Kareem Jackson while also adding JL Skinner in the sixth round of the NFL Draft.

With Justin Simmons and Caden Sterns projected to be the two players starting at safety this upcoming season, Locke and Jackson appear primed to be the position’s key contributors in role-player positions, but where does that leave Turner-Yell?

As a rookie last season, Turner-Yell demonstrated some flashes during the preseason and made the Broncos’ 53-man roster. The hard-hitting rookie appeared in 14 games for the Broncos last season, playing primarily on special teams. He accumulated eight total tackles while recovering two fumbles.

He played 62% of the team’s special teams snaps last year and will have to continue to maintain his status in that department while also doing more on defense during the preseason. Anytime a team adds a safety in the draft and brings back two players in free agency, it’s always hard to project if that means an organization isn’t comfortable with the timeline of a player they previously drafted like DTY, or if it’s just an insurance policy to add numbers to the position.

If Denver didn’t bring back Jackson this offseason, it would be easier to project an elevated role for Turner-Yell. This is why he is one of the three players mentioned in terms of having some of the toughest odds to make the roster on paper, all circumstances considered.

Turner-Yell however plays a physical style of football and doesn’t shy away from contact, takes good angles as a safety against the run, and clearly demonstrated that last year in the preseason. If he can do the same thing this upcoming preseason and training camp, he’ll leave no doubt that he deserves to be on the active roster.