Denver Broncos: Young players need to be ready to go
The Denver Broncos have a lot of young talent on their roster, and they will have to be ready to hit the ground running for Denver to have success early on.
The Denver Broncos are relying on more players with little or no previous NFL experience than any season in recent memory.
While all the new talent is definitely a good thing for the roster as a whole, relying on so many young players doesn’t come without risk. Winning in the NFL takes more than just pure talent — it also requires a certain level of confidence and savvy that some players can pick up on faster than others.
Rookies Royce Freeman and Bradley Chubb are set to make their first career starts on Sunday, and Broncos fans should have high expectations for both. Freeman is the first rookie running back to start for the Broncos since Terrell Davis did it in 1995, and Chubb is the Broncos’ highest draft pick since Von Miller.
Denver needs both of these guys to step in and play well right away.
Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton were both drafted this offseason to add depth to the wide receiver room and will back up Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Passing attacks in the NFL need to have three or four receivers that are productive and reliable so the opposing defense can’t just key on one or two guys.
That has been the case for the Broncos the last couple of seasons now, and it’s up to Sutton and Hamilton to change that narrative.
At tight end, Jeff Heuerman will start with Jake Butt backing him up. Although Heuerman is entering his fourth year in the league, he is still young and the Broncos have never been counting on him to play well as heavily as they are this season.
Butt will be in the mix often, playing in his redshirt rookie season. The Broncos haven’t had consistent production at the position since Julius Thomas left for Jacksonville after the 2014 season, so a good showing from Heuerman and Butt would certainly be welcomed.
While there won’t be any rookies starting on defense for the Broncos outside of Bradley Chubb, Josey Jewell, Alexander Johnson, Keishawn Bierria, and Isaac Yiadom are all just one injury away from getting hoisted into a much larger role.
And of course, we can’t forget about the local undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay.
Vance Joseph and John Elway have already shown a lot of faith in Lindsay by keeping him on the active roster, but especially by going into the season with just three backs. He is also expected to play a big role in special teams, where he is listed as a starting kick returner on the depth chart.
The Broncos need Lindsay to be ready to contribute from the beginning.
If the Broncos’ young players are able to hit the ground running, Denver has a great chance to get off to a hot start in 2018.