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Denver Broncos July Scouting Report
The Denver Broncos and the Walton-Penner family have entered into a purchase and sale agreement. The agreement is subject to approval from the NFL's finance committee and league ownership as well as the satisfaction of customary closing procedures. The agreement is for a sports franchise record of $4.65 billion. The first thing the Walton-Penner family will need to do is sign Russell Wilson to a contract extension. Next, they should build a privately funded super stadium similar SoFi Stadium in Denver.
Nathaniel Hackett is exactly what the Broncos need after three seasons of Vic Fangio. Hackett understands itï¿½s about the players and that without the talent on the field, he canï¿½t win. With Hackett and Wilson, the Broncos are in the midst of a cultural shift, and will in no way look like the slow, boring Fangio Broncos. The entire Broncosï¿½ organization is excited and energized and the energy around the Broncos is just different with QB Russell Wilson. The players also like Hackettï¿½s energy, and are having fun learning from him. Above all, the players bond is much stronger than itï¿½s been over the last few years. Everyday, Wilson and multiple teammates (specifically, WRs Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick and Montrell Washington plus tight ends Greg Dulcich, Eric Saubert and Andrew Beck) report to the Broncosï¿½ Training Center to study the playbook and exercise before the official work begins. Wilson: "Winning is a lifestyle. Itï¿½s bigger than just the ability to compete. Itï¿½s also the ability to understand the habits of winning. Those habits have to occur. There is no other option. Thatï¿½s what winners do, and thatï¿½s what a winning football team does. Thatï¿½s what weï¿½re trying to do, and thatï¿½s what weï¿½re trying to do in the midst of it all."
The Broncos receivers will be moved all over the field with multiple formations, motion, shifts and jet sweeps.
The rosters of the AFC West improved greatly this offseason as a whole. No roster is perfect. The Broncos will attack the biggest defensive weakness of their AFC West rivals: Raiders back seven; Chiefs pass rush and cornerback; Chargers defensive line.
The Broncos have one of the best rosters in the NFL entering 2022 with QB Russell Wilson, the wide receivers and tons of pass rushers. But the roster lacks clarity on the offensive line, proven depth on the defensive line and proven production at outside linebacker.
The work isnï¿½t done, but the foundation has been laid. The players definitely know what they're doing as the mini-camp closed. But Hackett wants them to do it even better. They need to find offensive consistency an avoid pre-snap penalties. QB Russell Wilson is extremely confident with the state of the offense. After a little time off, Wilson and his receivers with get together to throw in Southern California.
CB Michael Ojemudia had a good camp and is ready if CB Ronald Darby is injured.
WR Kendall Hinton was a favorite target with good chemistry with Wilson. He can play the slot.
LB Barron Browning is a full time Edge player, so someone else could be traded.
WR Travis Fulgham was impressive and could make the roster if he can play Special Teams.
TE Greg Dulcich (4.7/40; NFL TE ave.) could become the starting tight end in training camp. ILB Jonas Griffith is looking at a break out year. WR KJ Hamler is healing and still has blazing speed. WR Courtland Sutton has his top-notch ability back.
RBs Javonte Williams and explosive Mike Boone are effective running backs out of the backfield or out wide. QB Russell Wilson has great footwork and uses his eyes to fool defensive backs.
LT Garrett Bolles had penalty problems which could be a problem. CB Kï¿½Waun Williams is a great, physical slot cornerback.
TE Albert Okwuegbunam (4.5/40) improved his ability to find gaps in zone coverage. He has stepped up mentally and did a really good job in the run game protection and the pass game, opening up and rolling.
The work is just beginning. Training Camp looms in late July, but the slow part of the NFL off season has begun.
QB Russell Wilson will run an offense featuring plays and schematics that heï¿½s most comfortable with. In Hackett's offense: Everything will look the same so the defense don't know when a different play is coming; and, more will be demanded of the running backs as they will have to learn concepts and cross-train as wide receivers. QB Russell Wilson is surrounded by skill-position talent. He has two No. 1 wide receivers in Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, a No. 2 in Tim Patrick and an explosive No. 3 in KJ Hamler. However, receiver depth is a concern. While the biggest weakness on offense may be the pressure for the offensive line to protect a scrambling Russell Wilson. WR Tim Patrick says the Hackett/Wilson offense blends Hackettï¿½s system and Wilsonï¿½s successful career and is "not something thatï¿½s really been taught before". It gives the wide receivers an edge over cornerback, with all routes looking the same, with no tells. But it takes putting in extra work to master and if you donï¿½t (put in the extra work), your not serious about winning and donï¿½t belong on the team. WR Courtland Sutton seems to be becoming Wilsonï¿½s top target. The offense could become pass happy with RB Javonte Williams (over drafted in early drafts) serving as the closer. Two man cover-man coverage with two deep safeties-is seeing more use and effectiveness in the NFL. Wilson is the best quarterback in the NFL to attack two man coverage. The
O-line is adjusting to the zone-blocking scheme with linemen with the athleticism for the system; and, for some players, the system may even be better for their strengths. OL Coach Butch Barryï¿½s specialty is the wide zone-blocking scheme. The zone-blocking scheme prioritizes the football IQ in linemen, along with the athleticism to get off the ball quickly and move laterally, Heï¿½s really focused on getting the linemen to run off the ball. One of the many benefits Wilson brings is his ability to mimic mobile quarterbacks-(especially in the red zone)-the defense will face off against six times in the division.
The Broncos will have a six-week break before the start of training camp. Russell Wilson will intersperse his passing camps through out the off season and right up to the opening of training camp. Wilson has averaged 21% of his passes to his tight ends and 27% in the red zone. Green Bay/Hackett ran the second-most 12 personnel packages in the league at 29%. Wilson is not a quick-short pass game quarterback, but that could change in Hackettï¿½s offense with Jeudy and his tight ends. The Broncos need to take care of teams they're favored against, but tough Weeks 10 and 13-18, will be critical to their success.
The Broncos defense should be better with DC Ejiro Evero than they were under Vic Fangio. The defensive personnel is outstanding and should fit his scheme- a swarming defense that is built to rush the passer. The secondary is great, especially if CB K'Waun Williams can stay healthy. While Everoï¿½s scheme will vary fronts and packages, look for a lot of 2 defensive ends, 3 outside linebackers, 1 inside linebacker, 3 cornerbacks and 2 safeties as the Broncos prioritized multiple players that played in a 4-2-5 defense. The Broncos added defensive line talent in free agency and Evero wants to crank up the pressure on opposing quarterbacks and pump up the turnovers -- "the ball is everything." Evero wants his defense to play on the offensive side of the line of scrimmage; not only against the pass and creating pressure, but also, knocking blockers into their backfield and being disruptive against the run. He will use defensive pressure packages to place opposing quarterbacks under even greater stress. Special Teams
STC Dwayne Stukes has been a special-teams player himself and heï¿½s going to motivate players. Heï¿½s known for production and attention to the intricate details. His motto is "I see better than I hear"; Itï¿½s about proving it on the field, not talking about it. He wants to build a culture where players want to play on special teams. He wants players who are smart, know the rules and are prepared for anything the opponent throws at them. Adding special teams players was a priority on day three of the draft. If the Broncos' third-down defense is improved, returner (Washington) will get more opportunities to return punts. Undrafted free agent WR Kaden Davis, a small-school prospect with big-time skills,has real shot to make an impression early on the return game. There's a different level of energy than in past years, as Stukes wants players who want to play special teams; the drills are intense.
WR KJ Hamler may begin camp on PUP (ACL and hip surgery), but is expected to be ready for regular season. WR Jerry Jeudy, groin. WR Tyrie Cleveland was carted off the field with a right leg injury. TE Eric Tomlinson is dealing with a lower leg injury. TE Greg Dulcich-undisclosed. Roster Sleepers
RB Damarea Crockett is a zone scheme running back. WR Travis Fulgham (4th year/2nd with Broncos) has good size, strong hands, and can play inside or outside.
UDFAï¿½S to Watch: CB Jaï¿½Quan McMillian, East Carolina; WR Kaden Davis, Northwest Missouri State; WR/KR Jalen Vigil, Appalachian State; RB Tyreik McAllister, Charleston; Edge, Christopher Alabama Players to watch in training camp: WR Brandon Johnson; WR Travis Fulgham; S PJ Locke; CB Damarri Mathis; DE DeShawn Williams.
Preseason Games (prior to cuts): Week 1: vs. Cowboys Aug. 13, 85-man roster, Aug. 16; Week 2: @ Bills Aug. 20, 80-man roster, Aug. 23; Week 3: vs. Vikings Aug. 27; 53-man roster, Aug. 30; 16-man practice squad, after Aug. 30 cuts.
2023 NFL Draft
The Broncos currently have five 2023 draft picks: their own rounds 3, 4, and 5. They Have a third round pick from Indianapolis and a seventh round pick from Minnesota. Any deals they make would likely return six and seventh round picks. High choices would require giving up players of value. Perhaps they could do a tag and trade deal (Chubb?). What ever GM George Paton does, he has guaranteed he will have a lot more picks by the time the draft comes around.
Signed CB Damarri Mathis. Signed DL Eyioma Uwazurike.
Media pundits say that QB Trey Lance will add a new dimension to San Francisco's offense. The same can be said of Russell Wilsonï¿½s effect on the Broncos offense. The Broncos have made many bad decisions since 2016, but this Broncos team isnï¿½t one of them. Hackett will draw on both the original version and the evolved version of the Shanahan Offense. Mike Shanahanï¿½s system traditionally used a fullback who can line up in the backfield, split out wide or line up as a tight end. Fullback/tight end Andrew Beck seems to fit that role, but the tight ends are also getting reps. The evolved system typically runs from a one back set to attack the weak edge of the line of scrimmage and set up the play-action passing game. The play-action most used on boots and rollouts is the sail concept. The sail concept overloads one side of the defense with three route at three different depths. Kyle Shanahan loves to run outside zone one way and the sail concept back the other. Hackett will be true to his West Coast roots with crossing routes, slants and screen passes. And, he will incorporate modern offensive trends with packaged plays which combine different types of plays that allows Wilson to pick his option. Wilson likes the zone read from the shotgun, with him throwing downfield, which is a sound offensive concept for the offense and doesnï¿½t require him to run. But, of course, he can run. Hackettï¿½s favorite personnel group is three wide receivers and one tight end, but he will also use a lot of two tight end groups. He will also use a variable tempo no-huddle to keep defenses off balance.
QB Russell Wilson: a proï¿½s pro.
RB Javonte Williams: should be able to make the year two leap
RB Melvin Gordon III: wonï¿½t go away
WR Courtland Sutton: may be Wilsonï¿½s favorite wide receiver
WR Jerry Jeudy: breakout year
WR Tim Patrick: could be a value pick at an ADP of 165.
TE Albert Okwuegbunam: owning his job
TE Greg Dulcich has wide receiver skills on a tight end frame.
There are 14 practices available to the public from late July to almost mid-August: Wednesday, 7/27: 10:00-11:45 AM (all times are Mountain Time)
Thursday, 7/28: 10:00 AM ï¿½ 12:00 PM
Friday, 7/29: 10:00 AM ï¿½ 12:00 PM
Saturday, 7/30: 10:00 AM ï¿½ 12:00 PM
Sunday, 7/31: OFF, no practice
Monday, 8/1: 10:00 AM ï¿½ 12:00 PM
Tuesday, 8/2: 10:00 AM ï¿½ 12:00 PM
Wednesday, 8/3: 10:00-11:30 AM
Thursday, 8/4: 10:00 AM ï¿½ 12:30 PM
Friday, 8/5: 10:00-11:30 AM
Saturday, 8/6: 10:00 AM ï¿½ 12:30 PM
Sunday, 8/7: OFF, no practice
Monday, 8/8: 10:00 AM ï¿½ 12:00 PM
Tuesday, 8/9: 10:00 AM ï¿½ 12:30 PM
Wednesday, 8/10: 10:00-11:30 AM
Thursday, 8/11: 11:00 AM ï¿½ 1:00 PM (intrasquad practice with Dallas Cowboys)
Players will be available after practices to sign autographs. You cannot bring a standard backpack or purse to practice. Each fan may carry one bag that is clear plastic, vinyl or PVC, no larger than 12" x 6" x 12" or a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc or similar). You will sit on a grassy hill to observe practice. There will be beverages available for purchase at the facility, sunscreen dispensers around the complex, and food trucks available outside of the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse.
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2023 Madness NFL Rookie Draft Reference Guide
Monday, April 24th, 2023
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