The Denver Broncos have found a couple of gem in the reserve/futures contract realm in recent years, and running back Jeremy Cox could be the latest.
The Denver Broncos are always open to improving their roster by whatever means necessary.
John Elway has managed to find really good players through pretty much every way of acquiring them — free agency, the draft, trades, undrafted players, practice squad poaches, and even reserve/future signings, which may be the least likely place of all to find guys.
One of the top players the Broncos have unearthed in the reserve/future pool is defensive lineman Shelby Harris, who was a castoff of a number of teams including the Oakland Raiders before he got an opportunity in Denver, shined all offseason, then ultimately made his way to what should be an eight-figure contract (per year) in 2020.
You just never know, which is why we look at every guy who gets signed to the Broncos and pay attention to all 90 players on the roster over the course of the offseason.
That includes the running back position, where players seem to be a dime a dozen these days. Some of the most impactful running backs in NFL history were day three picks or even undrafted. The Broncos have two such cases with former sixth-round pick turned Hall of Famer Terrell Davis and undrafted rookie turned Pro Bowler Phillip Lindsay.
Sometimes for running backs, all it takes is a great opportunity, and the Broncos can provide that with only two depth chart spots presumably locked up in 2020, leaving the door open for reserve/future signing Jeremy Cox to make an impression.
Cox was undrafted out of Old Dominion in 2019 and signed with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Old Dominion is certainly not a football powerhouse and Cox was not even really wildly productive there, though he put some awesome things on tape. He really blew NFL evaluators away with his Pro Day performance, where he checked in at just under 6-feet, 223 pounds.
Here were his results:
- 40-yard dash: 4.42
- Bench press (225 pounds): 25 reps
- Vertical jump: 39 inches
- 3-cone drill: 6.90
- Broad jump: 10’7″
For comparison, here are the numbers posted by the 6-foot, 233-pound Saquon Barkley in 2018:
- 40-yard dash: 4.40
- Bench press: 29 reps
- Vertical jump: 41 inches
Barkley did not participate in the 3-cone or the broad jump, but you get the drift.
I’m not comparing Cox to Barkley as a prospect. There’s a reason why Cox is signing a reserve/futures deal and Barkley is among the best playmakers in the NFL today, but the athletic measurables are at the very least interesting to compare.
The Broncos got themselves a bit of a freak athlete here, and when you watch some of Cox’s work at Old Dominion, you can see why he might be an intriguing player to monitor over the course of the offseason.
He ran all over a ranked Virginia Tech team to lead Old Dominion to an upset victory, including the punctuation mark on a dominant performance in which he put on display his power, vision, and long speed.
Cox is my brand of a running back. He’s extremely physical, inviting contact because he knows he’s not often going down the first time he gets hit. You’d like to see a little bit more of him avoiding contact to put that great speed to use, but Cox is as physical as you will see a college back and I like that he can add value in the passing game.
Although there’s not a ton out there to watch of this player, what is available shows a player who has a very strong lower half, explosive speed, pass catching ability, and plenty of upside in the right situation. Let’s see if it can be Denver.