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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Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos, Nik Bonitto (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

Impact Broncos Rookie No. 2: Nik Bonitto, OLB

The life of a rookie pass-rusher in the NFL can be hard at times. Being able to make that initial big-time play can sometimes be all it takes to get the wheels turning. That certainly seems to be the case with the latest 2nd round draft pick, Nik Bonitto.

Coming out of Oklahoma, Bonitto was recognized as one of the best pass-rushers in his draft class. Over the course of his collegiate career, Bonitto recorded 33 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks, one interception, and one forced fumble. His ability to bend, his speed, and his burst all played a fundamental part in the Broncos’ decision to draft him

For Bonitto, there were never any doubts regarding his talent or potential. However, his lack of size and strength had many teams questioning his ability to successfully compete at the next level. Those questions only kept rising after his relatively quiet start to the preseason. However, it wasn’t until the final game of the preseason against the Vikings, that Bonitto showcased why the Broncos were wise in drafting him.

Against the Vikings, Bonitto exploded onto the scene with six tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble. What was more impressive was the fact that Bonitto got to the quarterback in back-to-back plays, and narrowly missed his chance for a third sack to end the Vikings’ offensive drive.

For many rookies, it just requires getting that first big play out of the way before they start getting comfortable and keep gaining confidence. Bonitto couldn’t have had his breakout moment at a better time. Now heading into their week one matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, Bonitto will be a rotational player behind Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory.

Bonitto can build on top of his preseason finale performance on Monday Night Football. He’ll be playing against what is projected to be one of the worst offensive line units across the NFL. It should make for a great first game and allow him to find some success and confidence early on before heading into much harder matchups later this season.