During the NFL Combine there are rumblings of what the plans are for teams and for Denver Broncos there’s versatility on defense.
There were two big defensive acquisitions made last year. Both Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan joined the Denver Broncos secondary, although we never got to see both of them together on the field for a game.
Jackson was an under-the-radar free agent who could help the team in a variety of ways. He also turned out to be an important presence in the locker room.
Callahan came because of his previous working relationship with Vic Fangio and the Chicago Bears. Callahan and Jackson did not see the field at the same time, unfortunately. Actually, it was just Jackson that saw the field between the two. The foot injury for Callahan lingered and he never saw action in 2019.
John Elway and Vic Fangio spoke about these two players and their versatility at the 2020 NFL Combine. When Denver signed Callahan there was some question as to who would play outside corner and who would play in the slot.
Chris Harris Jr. spent the majority of his career except the last few years working both outside and inside out of necessity. Callahan is regarded as one of the top nickel cornerbacks in the NFL. Yet upon his signing, the Broncos had planned on keeping Harris in the slot with Callahan on the outside. With Harris Jr. set to become a free agent in a few weeks, Fangio was asked about the possibility of where he would play Callahan in 2020.
“He’s versatile so he could end up in any spot."
Vic Fangio (via Broncos PR)
This leaves Kareem Jackson in another precarious situation. If the Denver Broncos do not address the cornerback position or target a lower-tier free agent, then maybe they look hard at Jackson playing cornerback again. This option seems very unlikely, but the Broncos and Elway are confident enough to show interest in utilizing their versatility.
With the play of Jackson on the back end of the secondary with Justin Simmons at safety, the likelihood of him moving back to cornerback does not seem possible right now. John Elway did say during the Combine it is nice having players like Jackson and Callahan in your back pocket.
“I think we have to get better there (cornerback). That’s one area we’re looking to get better. I think we got better as time went on. We had some young guys. We had some injuries there. Bryce didn’t play last year. We had relied on him. Chris had to stay outside a lot more because Kareem played safety. That’s an area that we’re looking to hopefully get better this offseason."
Bryce Callahan will be a welcome addition to the secondary in 2020. Both Jackson and Callahan’s versatility gives Denver flexibility in case they can’t make a signing they need or want to during free agency.
Cornerback is a pressing area of need as Elway alluded to. The Broncos would like depth there. Whether that is a player like Dallas' Byron Jones, Detroit's Darius Slay, or Chicago's Prince Amukamura, it’ll be worth monitoring.