Denver Broncos: Rookie review after preseason debut

Denver Broncos rookie RB Javonte Williams. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos rookie RB Javonte Williams. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos, following their preseason debut in 2021, appear to have made a solid choice with their ninth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Instead of taking a chance on a guy like Justin Fields or Mac Jones, they took Alabama cornerback Pat Surtain II.

Surtain made several nice plays against the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday. Surtain finished his debut with an interception for a touchdown off of a Jake Browning throw. This goes to show that the comments that have been said by many of the Denver Broncos’ players and coaches about Surtain II were not lies. He doesn’t look like a rookie. He looks like a 10-year veteran.

In case you missed it:

It’s refreshing to see this even though it is only the first game. There will be ups and downs in Surtain’s game but right now, things appear to be working out quite well with him.

The Denver Broncos traded up in the second round of the draft to select North Carolina running back Javonte Williams. With Melvin Gordon held out of the game and Mike Boone missing several weeks with a quad injury, it appeared to be the Royce Freeman and Javonte Williams show in the first part of the game. Williams is as advertised, rushing five times for 29 yards.

Williams would have had a touchdown in his first preseason game action if it weren’t for a holding penalty by second-year receiver Jerry Jeudy.

Williams also showed some nice pass protection skills, specifically on a Drew Lock run near the end of the first quarter.

Justin Strnad, who was drafted last year but missed 2020 with an injury, showed several of his skills in the game. He just has a knack for finding the football and moves very nicely in coverage and run defense.

Jonathon Cooper, the linebacker out of Ohio State, also had his fair share of close plays, almost getting to Vikings quarterbacks several times.

Safety Caden Sterns did a nice job of keeping his eyes in the direction of the football and was in on several plays. Overall, he had six tackles, which led the team. He also made a hit that prevented a touchdown.

Upon early review, it looks like Sterns can either be a very, very nice depth piece to Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson or eventually fill in as a starter when Jackson is no longer on the team. He’s definitely a guy to keep your eyes on.

Quinn Meinerz came in at right guard in place of Graham Glasgow when the Denver Broncos switched to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Meinerz held up very nicely in pass protection. To begin the second half, Meinerz became the starting center.

The big takeaway in my opinion is that Meinerz looks to be very powerful. It will be interesting to see what is said about him within the next week or two. Will he earn a starting job or will he have to wait for that opportunity?

I just really like what I saw from him.

Unfortunately, linebacker Baron Browning is still on the PUP list and did not play in the game. He, along with Strnad, should prove to be a very exciting duo when the time comes.

Football is back, everybody. The Denver Broncos had some very good performances by several players on Saturday. Some of their rookies really had a good day in Minnesota. I’m excited to see what’s next. On to the Seattle Seahawks next week.