Recapping Denver Broncos rookie performances vs. the Cowboys

Denver Broncos, Jalen Virgil Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos, Jalen Virgil Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos, Brandon Johnson, Kendall Hinton (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

Undrafted free agents against the Dallas Cowboys

With question marks surrounding the back end of the Denver Broncos wide receiver room, there was plenty of opportunity at Empower Field. Multiple wide receivers answered the call, a few of them being rookies.

Two rookie wide receivers actually led the Denver Broncos in receiving yards, Brandon Johnson and Jalen Virgil. What makes the debut of these two players even more special, they were both undrafted free agents that were nabbed by George Paton after the draft was completed.

Jalen Virgil, a rookie from the Appalachian State, sure did make Yosef (Appalachian State’s mascot) happy with his performance Saturday. In the small town of Boone, North Carolina, the Mountaineers’ have an incredibly successful program and seem to have a guy climb his way into the league every single year.

Most remember their takedown of the juggernaut MIchgain Wolverines a few years ago, but it is time to start recognizing their ability to grow players into true NFL talents. Jalen Virgil is next up. On five targets Saturday, Virgil hauled in three of them for 82 yards. Virgil showed his playmaking ability in a true game that camp goers have seen all camp.

Jalen Virgil hauled in two receptions for 30+ yards including one for 42 yards when the Denver Broncos were backed up inside their own one-yard line. While eyes were set on a different rookie undrafted wide receiver at the beginning of the game, Jalen Virgil closed the night out with an incredible outing.

That other undrafted wide receiver who got out to a hot start was Brandon Johnson from the University of Central Florida.

Johnson, like Jalen Virgil, showed an ability to be a big-time playmaker for the Denver Broncos. Targeted six times, Johnson hauled in four of them for 64 yards. His biggest play of the night came on a juggling act as he had a defender interfering with him gunning down the sidelines.

While there was a penalty on the play, Johson was still able to corral the pass in and proved himself a strong wide receiver, even in his rookie campaign. This would be a huge gain for the Denver Broncos offense as it was a gain of 40 yards.

Grading the rookies’ performances, there was a lot to like. There still were some great teaching moments that you get from a young player’s debut, but overall, the guys on offense definitely showed potential.

If we are asking the question of which rookies had the best outing, it would go to the young trio of wide receivers, Montrell Washington, Jalen Virgil, and Brandon Johnson.

P.S., Tim Patrick will surely be missed, but Brandon Johson had a great third-down reception on the two-minute drive that was capped off with a Brandon McManus field goal. That sure-handed reception is one that the coaches will love looking back on this game.