UDFAs with the best chance of making Broncos’ roster

October 22, 2016; Stanford, CA, USA; Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Shay Fields (1) catches a touchdown against Stanford Cardinal cornerback Alijah Holder (13) during the second quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In each of the last 15 seasons, one of Denver’s undrafted free agents has made the active roster. It’s one of the longest streaks in the league, meaning that although the Broncos are highly unlikely to strike gold with another Phillip Lindsay, there is a very good chance that they can find a player who will contribute on Sundays.

Following the draft, the Broncos signed 17 undrafted free agents. Here are the ones with the best chance of making the final roster.

1. Alijah Holder, Cornerback, Stanford

Despite having the future of All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris Jr. in flux, and the contracts of both Justin Simmons and Will Parks expiring after the 2019 season, the Broncos chose to completely ignore the secondary through all seven rounds of the draft, and signed only one defensive back as an undrafted free agent.

During his time at Stanford, Holder was a productive but oft-injured corner. Out of 54 games Holder could have potentially played in, he only made it on the field for 32. That being said, the 2018 season saw him play the most snaps of his college career on the way to earning an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention.

Holder’s size, speed and high-end football I.Q. give him the potential to be a solid press-man corner and could make him an intriguing project for head coach Vic Fangio and defensive coordinator Ed Donatell if they can find a roster spot for him.

2. Joe Dineen, Linebacker, Kansas

The Broncos’ largest remaining question right now is at linebacker, where Josey Jewell and Todd Davis are expected to start, as Keishawn Bierria, Joseph Jones, Alexander Johnson and potentially Justin Hollins compete for backup roles.

Dineen has the production and the talent to quickly insert himself into that competition. During his last season at Kansas, the former Jayhawk earned a grade of 86.1 from Pro Football Focus, the highest in the Big 12. Dineen also tallied 53 stops (a tackle at or behind the line of scrimmage), the most of any linebacker in the FBS.

While Dineen has an impressive skill set, the Broncos’ abundance of similar players could prevent him from making the final roster. Not only are starters Jewell and Davis run-stuffing linebackers with limited coverage ability, but Alexander Johnson is as well. Considering Dineen’s lack of coverage skills, he could find himself on the outside looking in come September.

3. Devontae Jackson, Running Back, West Georgia

While Dineen may suffer from having traits too similar to the rest of his position, Devontae Jackson should profit from it.

One could make a strong argument that Phillip Lindsay is the most valuable player on the Broncos’ offense. Not only is he an incredibly talented running back, but his speed gives the offense a unique weapon. When Lindsay got injured near the end of the season, the offense fell off a cliff, scoring almost ten fewer points per game. The three games where Lindsay missed time (Ravens, Raiders, Chargers) were the three games with the lowest offensive output for the Broncos (14 points, 14 points, 9 points respectively).

Considering Lindsay’s lack of size and his offensive value to the team, the Broncos would be wise to add an insurance plan in Devontae Jackson. Much like Lindsay, Jackson is an undersized burner who also shows ability in the passing game. During his time at West Georgia, he dominated the competition, averaging more than six yards per carry for all but one of his seasons and averaging 117 yards per game his senior season.

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