Denver Broncos roster longshot Aaron Burbridge may have a variety of advocates on the team’s coaching staff.
Aaron Burbridge had a breakout senior season at Michigan State, got drafted in the sixth round by the San Francisco 49ers, and caught seven passes as a rookie after making an impression in 49ers camp.
He was caught in the middle of an ugly transition with the 49ers after they fired coach Chip Kelly and his staff and brought on Kyle Shanahan’s staff, but he continued fighting for a roster spot in San Francisco through the 2018 offseason.
Burbridge couldn’t crack the 49ers’ roster this past season and ended up signing with their practice squad in October.
Even if it was just at one point in time, this guy’s got the baller gene.
He decided to pursue another situation after the 2018 season and wound up signing a reserve/future contract with the Denver Broncos, where he has some advocates on the coaching staff.
It isn’t the first time for him, either.
When the 49ers drafted Burbridge, their offensive coordinator was Curtis Modkins, who is currently the Denver Broncos’ running backs coach.
Injuries contributed to his not playing a role on the active roster the past two seasons, but Burbridge played in all 16 games for the 49ers as a rookie and made such a strong impression on special teams, Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch actually took recommendations from other coaches to keep him around.
For the Broncos, Burbridge is going to have to prove he can do that again, but he’s also got a chance to prove he can factor into the offense with potentially a spot at the bottom of the WR depth chart available for the taking.
Modkins is not the only potential advocate on the Broncos’ coaching staff, either.
When Shanahan and his staff took over in San Francisco, he obviously brought Rich Scangarello in the fold, along with a number of other assistants who are now with the Broncos.
These coaching connections do not ensure Burbridge will get a roster spot with the Broncos, but they may have helped land him a job with Denver in the first place.
In addition to his special teams prowess, Burbridge was growing more and more comfortable in the Shanahan offense over the past two seasons (he spent 2017 rehabbing) and impressed both Chip Kelly’s staff and the Shanahan staff with his strong hands.
Burbridge doesn’t have elite speed. He’s not great at creating separation. But he’s tough, physical, valuable on special teams, and he can make plays no matter how difficult they may be.
If he was progressing so well in San Francisco’s offense last season, there’s a chance he could stand out at Broncos training camp in a few weeks.