Broncos rookies that could make impact in year one

May 24, 2021; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II (2) during organized team activities at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
May 24, 2021; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II (2) during organized team activities at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Now that free agency and the draft have come and gone, teams are well into OTA’s and we’ve already gotten a good first look at the Denver Broncos newest recruits.

While everyone wants to believe that they have a draft gem or the next future Hall of Famer, odds are that only a few rookies in each team’s draft class will make an immediate impact in their first season.

The Broncos have an interesting draft class to say the least, especially with George Paton passing on a quarterback with the ninth overall pick. These players should have the best opportunities to shine and make the impact that head coach Vic Fangio and Paton would want to get Denver back to the postseason.

Linebacker Baron Browning – Round 3, Pick 105

Denver has been consistent in years past with not wanting to fill a position of need in linebacker until they finally selected the Ohio State product in the third round. The optimism fans should have is that he already feels good playing at inside linebacker even though he played outside with the Buckeyes.

During the lead up to the draft, Browning’s speed and explosiveness is what caught the attention of various scouts and Denver can only hope that even though he never was given the chance to demonstrate his true abilities in college, it’s those exact traits and pure athleticism that will make him flourish while being in Fangio’s system.

Although Fangio doesn’t particularly focus on blitzing, Browning’s pure ability could result in a play strong enough that he could take the focus off the edges from teammates Von Miller, who is coming off a torn tendon, and Bradley Chubb.

If Browning can compete with last year’s prospect Justin Strnad, whom the Broncos are intrigued by, then the prospect of losing Alexander Johnson won’t be as concerning as many may believe. All it takes is for Baron to be the player that he was expected to be when he was the No. 1 rated linebacker back in 2017.

Running Back Javonte Williams – Round 2, Pick 35

The loss of hometown favorite Phillip Lindsay will still sting to many Bronco fans, but there should be reason to have excitement in second-round selection, Javonte Williams, out of North Carolina.

The pure raw running ability and power are enough to give you chills and thrills in a backfield that truly hasn’t had a power back since the days of Clinton Portis.

While Williams wasn’t a cowbell during his tenure in college with only 366 carries, his 1,140 rushing yards, 19 touchdowns and 7.3 yards per carry average last year will certainly be reason enough for Fangio to use the running game a little more if quarterbacks Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater can’t find their footing in the passing game.

Williams’ 5-foot-10, 210-pound frame will pair well with starter Melvin Gordon and give the Broncos the kind of backfield that the Tar Heels had last year with Williams and Michael Carter in which he was named a second-team AP All-American and second-team All-ACC.

The only potential concerns is uncertain hands when acting as a receiver out of the backfield, but that shouldn’t be enough for Williams not to get a chance in the first game of the season. It wouldn’t be that surprising if he gets the start midway through the year and becomes the team’s RB1 full-time the year after.

Safety Caden Sterns – Round 5, Pick 152

While it’s expected that Kareem Jackson will be the starter this season, the Broncos brought him back on a one year contract so it could be up to how Sterns and fellow rookie Jamar Johnson perform to know if Jackson will be brought back for the 2022 season.

Sterns can be a versatile playmaker that plays well and smooth in coverage and at times tries to be overly aggressive which that results in more missed tackles that need to be cleaned up before being considered for a starting spot anytime soon.

What truly makes the Texas product a potential steal for Denver is his prototypical size, speed and athleticism that paired with mentoring from Justin Simmons and Jackson could result in Sterns developing into a hybrid-ballhawk safety that could contain big gain plays and force turnovers for a team that ranked 28th in turnovers forced.

Next. What it might cost the Broncos to get Aaron Rodgers. dark

Knowing that there are no guarantees in the NFL, the Broncos have many promising players that want to prove themselves and thus Broncos Country should be excited about. The only question now is which ones are going to answer the call?