Denver Broncos: 9 young players who must shine in 2021

Denver Broncos WR #10 Jerry Jeudy. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos WR #10 Jerry Jeudy. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
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Justin Strnad, Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos LB Justin Strnad #40. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

9 young players the Denver Broncos need to shine in 2021.

The Denver Broncos have been slowly yet steadily building a very strong core of young players over the past few offseasons.

Even as difficult as the 2020 season has been for every team (maybe especially the Denver Broncos), the flashes of brilliance from the Broncos’ young core of players has provided plenty of excitement for the future.

As of 2021, it will likely no longer be a matter of looking for the upside between the frustrating moments that come inherently with having one of the youngest rosters in the NFL. The Broncos are going to be counting on these young players to become more than just exciting prospects.

These guys need to shine.

Here are nine young players (okay, okay — maybe more) the Broncos need to shine in 2021 if they are going to have the kind of success as a team required to get back into the postseason.

Honorable mention: Justin Strnad, LB

One of the first major season-ending injuries for the Denver Broncos in the 2020 season was a wrist injury suffered by linebacker Justin Strnad in training camp.

Although not many fans realized it at the time, the injury to Strnad was a significant one to the Broncos’ original plans for the defense this past season.

Strnad, whose production at Wake Forest was worthy somewhat of a Fred Warner-lite comparison, has tremendous coverage abilities, and even as a fifth-round pick, the Broncos had planned on making him part of their nickel package in 2020.

The team released linebacker Todd Davis and was comfortable moving forward with the duo of Josey Jewell and Alexander Johnson in the starting lineup with Strnad coming in as the nickel.

Who knows? Strnad might have even seized a full-time role before the season was over.

One thing is for certain — the Broncos had plans to get Strnad on the field, and not just defensively, but on special teams.

Losing him for the entire season was a big blow and while the Broncos may not pass up on other talented linebacker prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft class, they would undoubtedly love to see Strnad become a starting-caliber player as soon as possible.