Denver Broncos WR Kalif Raymond drawing rave reviews

Jul 28, 2016; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos fans line up to watch the start of facility training camp drills held at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2016; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos fans line up to watch the start of facility training camp drills held at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos are in search for a new return specialist, and rookie free agent Kalif Raymond is already turning a lot of heads at training camp…

Every year, the Denver Broncos unearth a gem or two from their undrafted free agent class, and wide receiver Kalif Raymond is hoping his small frame can pack a big punch.

Raymond, who stands at 5-9 and says he weighs 181 pounds has been lighting it up at Broncos camp thus far, showing off great speed, quickness, and big play ability. Head coach Gary Kubiak has taken notice…

“That’s a great observation. Here is a young kid not getting many reps, and I sit some guys today and he gets a lot of reps. He must have caught three big balls in practice. Kalif is very explosive. He’s not very big, but he is very explosive. I think he understands his role and how he can make this team as a returner or a slot-type player for us. He’s taken advantage of it.”

Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison also likes what he’s seen from Raymond thus far.

“He can run. He’s made some strides ever since he showed up in the spring. He’s just a little bit along and I think you can say the same thing, too. [WR] Bralon [Addison] got a late start because he was at Oregon, but even he’s marching along. Each of them are doing something. They’re bright, but they’re all learning. It’s just like what we said with the quarterbacks, you’re seeing what [WR Demaryius Thomas] D.T. and [WR] Emmanuel [Sanders] are doing. They see how they work and they are learning from that. They get an opportunity to get a few more reps when those guys don’t play.”

At this point in the offseason, it’s all about making a name for yourself. Not only is Raymond capable of doing that as a return specialist, but he’s making big plays in the passing game and forming some really nice chemistry with Paxton Lynch and the Broncos’ quarterbacks.

He’ll need a big preseason to make himself irreplaceable for this Broncos wide receiver group, but the former Holy Cross star has a chance now to do just that.

“This is my dream,” Raymond said Sunday. “Anything I can do to get onto that field, whether it be a receiver, returner, sniper, gunner, anything they need. I’ll go out there and snap the ball if they need me to. I come out here and make sure whatever they put me at I do it 110 percent, even at receiver or returner. Whatever I can do to get on this team is what I’m going to do. This is the organization I want to play for.”

Raymond is so dedicated to making this Broncos roster, he’s trying to get out on the field before even the jugs machine if he has to. He wants to field 100 punts before practice, and has routinely been the first player on the field.

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“I want to be the first guy in and the last guy out. At the same time I want to make sure I am  as loose as possible. If I am going to go 110 percent, I know my own body, so I need to be out here warmed up ready to go. If I can get 100 punts, I’m going to hit 100 punts. I’m going to be out here as soon as the jugs are out here, so I can get those punts. You can never get too many reps. The day I go back there and can read it as soon as it comes off the kicks, is the day all the work has been put in. I’ve never played an NFL game, so when it comes off the punt, I need to be able to see everything, expect everything and be used to it already.”

The rookie knows this is his shot to make it in the league. The Broncos are the team he wants to play for, and he’s working every single rep to make sure they can’t cut him.

“I’m going to go 110 percent. This is my dream. This is what I want to do. It’s been a great experience so far, but I’m trying to make this a lifestyle. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I play football in the NFL, but I want to play for the Broncos. Just being here is like no other. If I could do anything to make the 53-man roster to play for this team, I am going to take it every time.”