Denver Broncos: Day 3 draft picks provide depth, huge upside

Denver Broncos, 2021 NFL Draft, Caden Sterns. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, 2021 NFL Draft, Caden Sterns. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Jamar Johnson, Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft, Jamar Jefferson (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

5 (164): Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana

If the Caden Sterns selection didn’t excite you, the Jamar Johnson pick by the Denver Broncos probably got your blood flowing a bit.

Although there wasn’t a ton of pre-draft hype for Caden Sterns, steam had been picking up in recent months for Jamar Johnson out of Indiana.

Tackling is a “non-negotiable” for the Vic Fangio defense, which means that tackling is something that Johnson is going to have to work on. He did not put his best effort forth in that category at all times, at least this past season, but the potential is there.

Unlike Sterns, Johnson had a modest first couple of seasons with the Hoosiers before exploding onto the scene in 2020.

He had four interceptions, eight pass breakups, and 3.5 tackles for loss in just eight games this past season, earning 2nd-team All-Big Ten accolades and really putting himself on the NFL map.

While Sterns really excelled at making plays on the ball when the path was clear, Johnson was a guy who really showed he can read plays and get a jump on the ball. He pitched a shutout in limited snaps for the Hoosiers’ defense.

Although he was a free safety for the Hoosiers, Johnson also played some slot and will be counted on to play a significant role on special teams.

In Vic Fangio’s two-high shell looks, this kid has a shot to be a real star if he keeps on the trajectory we saw of seven picks on 44 passes thrown into his coverage. That kind of rate is insane.

Johnson’s coming out party this past season against Ohio State and Justin Fields may have thrown a wet blanket on Fields’ number one pick campaign. He has big-time potential.