Getting to know Denver Broncos cornerback Marcus Rios

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 31: Cornerback Marcus Rios #38 of the Denver Broncos defends against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason NFL game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 31, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 31: Cornerback Marcus Rios #38 of the Denver Broncos defends against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason NFL game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 31, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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The Denver Broncos brought Marcus Rios up off the practice squad for cornerback reinforcements with Aqib Talib suspended against Miami…

The Denver Broncos promoted cornerback Marcus Rios off their practice squad on Friday, a move made to help with depth at the cornerback position.

The Broncos will be without starter Aqib Talib against the Dolphins, and just recently waived Lorenzo Doss from their active roster.

Without Talib or Doss, the Broncos were down to just three corners on the active roster in Chris Harris Jr., Bradley Roby, and rookie Brendan Langley.

Rios is an unlikely story, to say the least.

https://twitter.com/Broncos/status/936682968877289479

Rios was signed by the Broncos as an undrafted free agent out of UCLA with a very modest $3,000 signing bonus. Thanks to the new preseason roster rules, Rios was able to show the Broncos what he could do over the course of four games, and ended up notching a sack in preseason action with 113 total snaps played.

At the UCLA pro day, Rios didn’t necessarily do anything to blow anyone away. He wasn’t invited to the Scouting Combine, so in his one chance to put his athleticism on display for NFL scouts, he posted a 4.55 second 40-yard dash, 30-inch vertical jump, and 18 bench press reps.

At almost 6-foot, 192 pounds, Rios’ athletic display was more of the type we would expect from a safety and a cornerback, but the Broncos have maximized the football potential of guys with less than elite athletic abilities before.

Rios’ time on the active roster could very well be short-lived with the anticipated return of Aqib Talib next week, but Denver could be in a position to keep him on the active roster if anyone needs to go on injured reserve after this week.

Perhaps Rios’ biggest moment in college came in the 2014 season when he picked off eventual number one overall pick Jared Goff to seal a UCLA victory:

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The Broncos’ scouting department has to have done some very deep digging on this kid, because he only started 14 games in his years at UCLA, and was not a player that was featured on their talented defense.

The fact that this UCLA defense had so many talented players (a number drafted into the NFL this past year), perhaps this kid went a little under the radar.

In 2015, Rios was an honorable mention All-Pac 12 selection by the coaches, an indicator of his respect within a very strong conference.

It’ll be an exciting moment for Rios, who may get to make his NFL debut in Miami on Sunday with the Broncos so thin at the cornerback position. He’s the first defensive back they have called up off the practice squad this year, but certainly not the first practice squad player to get brought up to the active roster.

Of the Broncos’ initial practice squad this year, nine of the 10 players have been called up now, including Rios.