Will Michael Ojemudia start for the Denver Broncos in 2020?
So much has been made about the Denver Broncos’ offensive picks in the 2020 NFL Draft (and rightfully so) that it’s almost like the team’s top pick defensively has been a forgotten man.
With the 77th overall pick, the Broncos’ top pick in the third round of the 2020 draft, the team selected Iowa Hawkeyes cornerback Michael Ojemudia.
Cornerback was one of the big question areas for the Broncos heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, and depending on who you ask might be the team’s biggest need for the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Broncos certainly don’t lack for young talent at the cornerback position. They not only have Ojemudia on the roster, but the Broncos also have 2018 third-round pick Isaac Yiadom, 2018 second-round pick Duke Dawson, former FCS All-American Davontae Harris, 2019 free agent acquisition Bryce Callahan, and one of the top pickups of the 2020 offseason — former Pro Bowl cornerback AJ Bouye.
Despite the Broncos’ additions and shuffling at the cornerback position over the past couple of seasons, no one has quite yet proven they can be a reliable starter for this team, even though just about every one of those guys has tried.
Ojemudia a perfect fit for Vic Fangio
There’s no question that any one of those players I already mentioned could progress in 2020 and start along with AJ Bouye for the Broncos at cornerback, but Ojemudia was a player this team prioritized in the 2020 draft.
He should be considered a favorite at this point to start opposite Bouye in the Broncos’ base defense with Bryce Callahan taking over in the slot when the team goes to its nickel alignment.
Ojemudia’s instincts, size, physical style of play, and high football IQ play very much into his favor for early playing time as a rookie, but it was his well-rounded athleticism that really turned eyes in the pre-draft process.
Over the past two seasons at Iowa, Ojemudia’s overall game really developed, and he showed an ability not only to thrive in the zone coverage Iowa primarily plays but matching and mirroring receivers in man coverage. He did tremendous work against Michael Pittman of USC in the Holiday Bowl this past season.
Considering these guys have not gotten to get out onto the field together yet, no one has any clue what’s going to happen with the Broncos’ depth chart at the cornerback position. There are so many different combinations and so many guys vying for spots, but that’s part of the advantage Ojemudia has in his favor right now — lack of clarity.
At this particular point in time, it wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the Broncos’ top four picks in the 2020 NFL Draft were immediate starters for the team.