Two Denver Broncos rookies were projected by NFL.com to make the 2022 All-Rookie team. Which rookies have the best shot at some hardware?
The Denver Broncos didn’t have a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and they barely snuck into the back end of the second round, but that didn’t prevent them from landing two players on NFL.com’s projected All-Rookie team for 2022.
Specifically, the two rookies the Broncos put on the 2022 All-Rookie team were tight end Greg Dulcich and return specialist Montrell Washington, two picks that you could easily see coming to fruition over the course of the 2022 season.
Denver Broncos rookie playmakers land on preseason All-Rookie Team
NFL.com’s Chad Reuter has been evaluating NFL Draft prospects for a really long time, and he had some intriguing notes about both of his Denver Broncos picks for this particular exercise.
Starting with Greg Dulcich:
"The Broncos have a talented collection of wide receivers for quarterback Russell Wilson to find downfield in Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick and Jerry Jeudy. However, Dulcich has a chance to see a lot of snaps as either a starter or the running mate of Albert Okwuegbunam at tight end. The former Bruins star could become a safety valve and red-zone threat for Wilson. Remember when Jimmy Graham had 16 TDs in his final two seasons in Seattle (2016-17)?Chad Reuter, NFL.com"
As of Denver Broncos OTAs, Reuter’s projection here is accurate.
There’s very little question that Dulcich is in line for significant snaps this season. Although Albert Okwuegbunam will have something to say about it, I think the TE1 job in Denver is relatively wide open and there for Greg Dulcich to take.
The Broncos were basically like cartoon characters with hearts for eyeballs when they drafted Dulcich this year and it’s clear that the team likes him.
Not only that, but Dulcich seemingly lived up to the hype throughout OTAs and really impressed everyone.
The competition for return duties in Denver will be exciting to watch over the course of the remainder of the offseason, but it’s clear that the team heavily prioritized Montrell Washington for that job.
Washington was not expected to be drafted, perhaps even by himself, but the Broncos pulled the trigger on taking him in the fifth round.
Here’s what Chad Reuter had to say about this pickup for Denver:
"The Broncos averaged just 16.2 yards per kickoff return (last in the NFL) and 8.2 yards per punt return (19th) in 2021. Washington’s ability to attack coverage units after fielding a kickoff (returned one for touchdown at Samford last year) or punt (four returned for TD in his career with the Bulldogs) will bring the excitement that Denver’s special teams units have sorely lacked. He also scored six times as a runner and nine times as a receiver in 2021, so it’s possible he sees some snaps on offense down the line.Chad Reuter, NFL.com"
It’s possible the Denver Broncos had the worst special teams in the league not just last year but over the last handful of seasons.
Montrell Washington won’t single-handedly fix their issues, of course, but he can provide a substantial spark in the return game.
Back in 2019, the Broncos relied on waiver wire pickup Diontae Spencer to provide that spark, but at the time, Spencer’s ability to just catch punts was reason enough to make him a mainstay in that job for a couple of seasons.
Washington is a unique player in that he can contribute in a variety of ways offensively as well as on special teams, an area where he obviously differs from Spencer who couldn’t carve out a role in the offense.
The Denver Broncos have an exciting young duo of tight ends in Greg Dulcich and Albert Okwuegbunam, but where do they rank among the AFC West?
Washington was one of the most productive and electric return men in college football over the last handful of seasons and he has a chance to be a difference-maker there for Denver in 2022 and beyond.