Broncos Add Intriguing WR Douglas McNeil III to Practice Squad


I’m one of the crazy ones, but I get excited about bottom of the roster guys, and I think John Elway does too. In fact, it’s his job to do so, and the Broncos’ scouting department is at it again, digging in the deepest depths for their newest developmental project — wide receiver Douglas McNeil III.

McNeil was signed to the final spot available on the Broncos’ practice squad after some roster shuffling the last few weeks with guys like Kapri Bibbs and Shaquil Barrett, but he’s not your typical rookie. First of all, McNeil is 26 and has already played professional football. He was most recently active with the Portland Thunder of the Arena Football League where he played 11 games and caught 66 passes, 18 of which went for touchdowns.

That total was good for second on the team.

Stats in the AFL are inflated quite a bit, but it was easy to see on tape what made the Broncos intrigued by McNeil. First of all, athletically he’s really impressive. At 6’3″ 200 pounds, he runs a 4.46 in the 40-yard dash and has a 36-inch vertical leap. He’s got long arms and is awesome at catching the ball at its highest point.

Starting off his collegiate career at Virginia Tech, McNeil eventually wound up at Bowie State, a small school in Maryland, where he finished his career with 84 catches for 1,407 yards and 11 touchdowns over three seasons.

Don’t let his fancy name fool you. When he puts the pads on, Douglas McNeil III turns into what he’s affectionately known as “Ocho Dougie” or a player that had become the poster child for why it was exciting to come to Portland Thunder games.

McNeil is the third receiver added to the Denver Broncos’ practice squad along with Bennie Fowler and Nathan Palmer. Palmer was with the Broncos last season when they went to the Super Bowl, and Fowler is a rookie out of Michigan State. McNeil really is an intriguing talent that is cherishing his opportunity to work hard and play professional football.

“Portland gave me a shot to display my talent at the professional level,” said McNeil. “This opportunity wouldn’t be possible if they hadn’t taken a chance on me. This goes to show the power of faith and perseverance.”

It will be exciting to track his development with the Broncos, a team that is apparently stocking up on young, athletic receiver prospects with size. Is this a precursor to the Broncos planning on life without one of the Thomases, or part of a grander plan to continue to dominate the NFL at the skill positions?

Let’s hope it’s the latter.