Denver Broncos: 3 undrafted rookies turning heads at camp

Denver Broncos linebacker Curtis Robinson, Peter Kalambayi. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos linebacker Curtis Robinson, Peter Kalambayi. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
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DeVontres Dukes, Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos UDFA wide receiver Devontres Dukes. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos have some intriguing undrafted rookie free agents who are turning heads at training camp. Who is making an early impression?

The Denver Broncos have a long, rich tradition of finding and developing gems after the NFL Draft. Undrafted free agents have certainly made their mark on Broncos history, from guys like legendary wide receiver Rod Smith, to future Ring of Famer Chris Harris Jr., to more recent players like Shaquil Barrett, Phillip Lindsay, and Malik Reed.

It is fair to assume that someone in the Denver Broncos‘ 2021 undrafted free agent crop is going to find a way to make an impact on this team, whether that’s this season or sometime down the line.

It’s still very early in the 2021 training camp process and all three preseason games have yet to be played at this point, but with the first preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings coming soon, we can perhaps start calling some shots.

Which undrafted rookies from the 2021 class are making the biggest impression thus far in training camp?

Let’s take a look at three guys.

Denver Broncos UDFAs turning heads early on

1. Devontres Dukes, WR

You want to talk about an underdog among underdogs? It would be Devontres Dukes.

Over four years at South Florida, Dukes played just 20 games and caught just 32 total passes. In his final season on campus, he managed to catch 24 passes for 297 yards and four touchdowns, somehow catching the eye of the Denver Broncos’ scouting department.

He signed on with just a $1,000 bonus, easily the lowest among the undrafted rookie crop.

Still, the Denver Broncos saw something in the 6-foot-4, 216-pound receiver and he has done a great job of taking advantage of opportunities in training camp. He picked perhaps the best possible time to really have his best practice of the offseason as the Denver Broncos traveled to Minneapolis to take on the Vikings.

This hasn’t been his first good practice or string of plays, either. Dukes has been steadily making plays throughout training camp for the Broncos and the best evidence of that?

People covering the team have had to learn his name.

The Denver Broncos wide receiver room is loaded, and it’s not just the Denver media or Broncos Country that have taken notice. Those covering the Vikings were impressed with the plays Dukes was able to make as well.

"While watching Denver’s wide receivers, I was impressed with undrafted rookie DeVontres Dukes. He had a great contested catch near the sideline against Cameron Dantzler in 1-on-1 drills. Dukes did an excellent job of getting position but was flagged for taunting after spinning the ball in Dantzler’s face. Dukes responded later and beat Dantzler deep up the seam for a diving touchdown grab. I was rather impressed with the young receiver’s size, ball tracking skills and physicality at the catch point. Despite having 6-foot-4, 216-pound size, Dukes was getting separation by moving well in and out of breaks. If Dukes is cut in a few weeks, I think he could draw interest from other NFL teams. Daniel House, Vikings Corner"

Dukes has now firmly planted himself on the “must watch” list for preseason action with a strong couple weeks of training camp in Denver followed by a breakout practice against the Vikings.