3 Broncos rookies that could have the biggest impact in Week 1

Denver Broncos, Montrell Washington (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, Montrell Washington (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images) /
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The Denver Broncos look to take on the Seattle Seahawks on a Monday Night Football matchup that does seem not lack in drama nor anticipation. And while all focus has shifted to Russell Wilson and his return to Seattle, the Broncos will have plenty of new faces on the field looking to make some big time plays.

Here are three rookies who could have the biggest impact in week one:

Denver Broncos, Montrell Washington
DENVER, COLORADO – AUGUST 27: Wide receiver Montrell Washington #12 of the Denver Broncos scores a first half touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in a preseason NFL game at Empower Field at Mile High on August 27, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Impact Rookie No. 1: Montrell Washington, KR/PR

After the Broncos finished dead-last in the NFL when it came to yards per return last season, it was only fitting that General Manager George Paton sought out someone who could solve that issue.

Montrell Washington.

While it seemed a bit of a surprise to some when the Broncos selected Washington with the 162nd overall pick, his speed and success on the field are undeniable. The Broncos were in desperate need of a gamechanger at the returning position, and Washington happened to check off all the boxes.

In his senior season at Samford, Washington led the FCS with 1,967 all-purpose yards, including 813 receiving yards, 742 kick return yards, 243 punt return yards, and 18 total touchdowns. Three of those touchdowns came in kick/punt returns. But it was Washington’s single-game performance against Florida last season that turned heads across the league.  Despite losing 70-52 in a heartbreaker against the Gators, Washington racked up 332 all-purpose yards.

That included 124 receiving yards, 179 return yards, and even 19 rushing yards. He also scored three touchdowns, one of which was a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. His performance that night made him the first FCS player since 1998 to record a rushing touchdown, receiving touchdown, and kick return touchdown against a Power Five team.

Now a Bronco, Washington has seen some of that success translate into the professional level. Throughout the preseason he worked returning punts and kicks with his longest returns going for 27 and 35 yards, respectively. He also capped off his preseason with an 11-yard touchdown through the ground on a designed play, quite possibly hinting at any future use within the new offense this season.

Being that the Broncos’ offense did not operate to its full capacity during the preseason, some growing pains are to be expected in their first outing of the season. But, if Washington can provide great field positioning with his punt and kick returns, it can and will alleviate some weight off the offenses’ shoulders.

For Washington, finding success early on is critical. His play will likely set the tone for the Broncos come Monday night.