Brendan Langley ascending up Broncos’ depth chart quickly

MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 28: Brendan Langley #31 of the North team breaks up a pass intended for Travin Dural #83 of the South team during the first half of the Reese's Senior Bowl at the Ladd-Peebles Stadium on January 28, 2017 in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 28: Brendan Langley #31 of the North team breaks up a pass intended for Travin Dural #83 of the South team during the first half of the Reese's Senior Bowl at the Ladd-Peebles Stadium on January 28, 2017 in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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The Denver Broncos drafted cornerback Brendan Langley in the third round for a reason. He’s proving himself early by rising quickly up the depth chart…

When the Denver Broncos selected cornerback Brendan Langley in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, they stumped almost everyone watching.

Fans were left wondering who this kid was, what he brought to the table, and why the Broncos chose him over some of the other players they had a chance to take.

The first time many had seen Langley in action was at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in January, but the Broncos obviously prioritized this young defensive back, using a premium draft choice to ensure they acquired him.

Langley certainly has the type of size and speed teams covet in cornerbacks these days. He’s 6-feet tall, 201 pounds, and threw up 22 bench press reps of 225 pounds, showing off his excellent upper body strength.

He also showed his speed with a 4.43 second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, and showed off his explosive athleticism in other drills while at Indianapolis.

Langley’s pre-draft performance was merely the tip of the iceberg, as the Broncos see in him a very valuable piece of their defense and special teams unit. He proved while at Lamar University that he is capable of doing both, even though he needs a little bit of seasoning.

In college, Langley made the transition to the cornerback position after starting off his collegiate career as a wide receiver.

His days as a wide receiver were spent with the Georgia Bulldogs, where he made a connection with his now teammate Isaiah McKenzie.

Small world.

From the day Langley got to Denver, he was inspired to make an impact. He talked about wanting to learn anything and everything he could from the various members of the No Fly Zone, an elite group he was now part of.

His drive and passion to get better are qualities that will certainly endear him to his teammates, but the coaching staff has taken notice as well.

On the Broncos’ first depth chart of the 2017 season, Langley was listed as the second right cornerback, or the top reserve cornerback behind the Broncos’ big three of Chris Harris Jr., Aqib Talib, and Bradley Roby.

He ascended to that position over Lorenzo Doss, who was a fifth round pick of the team in 2015, and another player having a strong training camp.

Here’s what head coach Vance Joseph had to say about the competition between these two players:

"“I would say this about the depth chart, it’s a starting point. Those two guys are competing for that fourth corner spot which is a big deal for our football team. They’re one snap from being a starter on sub. What went into that were the spring drills and the training camp practices thus far. That’s what’s determined that he’s (Langley) ahead of him (Doss) right now, but Doss has played well. He’s (Doss) made a lot of plays and Langley has a long way to go as far as learning what to do as an NFL corner. It’s open. The depth chart was a must. I had to put someone there (laughing). Whoever I would’ve had put there, it would have been questioned. It’s just part of the process. The final depth chart will be out versus the Chargers. That’s the one that really matters. The rest, it’s a depth chart. Somebody has to go first, second and third.”Vance Joseph (quotes via Broncos PR)"

The expectation for some when Langley was drafted was that he would be the eventual successor to the position left behind by Kayvon Webster, who signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Rams.

Webster was an elite special teams player for the Broncos, and his contributions in that regard will be sorely missed. However, he was not a significant contributor to the defense, and that’s an area where Langley would certainly like to see snaps sooner than later.

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He’ll have to be patient, though. The Broncos are stacked in the secondary.

For now, Langley’s top areas of impact will be on the various special teams units he plays on. In particular, Langley will have a shot to prove himself as a gunner and as a kick return candidate.

He was a very solid returner in college, and his skills as a former receiver bode well for him in the open field.

Before the offseason really got going, special teams coach Brock Olivo talked about having a ‘list’ of guys every coach would want for their groups. The Broncos lost a number of very valuable players on special teams, and the moves they made this offseason seem to indicate they paid a lot of attention to Olivo’s particular list.

Langley can be a very impactful player as a rookie for the Broncos, and his initial position on the depth chart is a reflection of how quickly he’s adapted to the competition at the next level.