The Denver Broncos have gotten some outstanding performances in 2023 from their rookie class, as small as it was to begin with. We've seen Marvin Mims make some big plays and win AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. We've seen rookie running back Jaleel McLaughlin make some game-changing plays and score three touchdowns.
Against the Cleveland Browns in Week 12, we could see the Broncos utilize a number of rookies from their 2023 class that we haven't seen all that much of yet this season. And all of them play defense.
The Broncos are looking to attack Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and they are mostly healthy and certainly well-equipped defensively to do exactly that. No team has turned the ball over more this season than the Browns (20 turnovers) and only two teams have forced as many turnovers as the Broncos (19). This team is going to be in attack mode, and I think we're going to see the defensive players in this rookie class have a coming-out party, potentially.
1. JL Skinner, safety
If the war on attrition has hit the Denver Broncos badly anywhere on this roster, it's been at the safety position. Although he's back and making big plays, the team was without veteran Justin Simmons for a bit of time early in the season. Kareem Jackson has been suspended twice and will miss six games total. Caden Sterns was expected to be a breakout player at safety and he hasn't been able to stay healthy. PJ Locke has been good when healthy, but he's also missed his fair share of time due to injury.
One player who has been waiting in the wings almost the entire season is rookie JL Skinner, the hard-hitting sixth-round pick out of Boise State. Skinner dropped in the NFL Draft due to a pectoral injury suffered in the pre-draft process but he's seemingly healthy and ready to contribute at a high level.
PJ Locke is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Browns, and with how badly Delarrin Turner-Yell has struggled at times when called upon this season, don't be shocked to see Skinner get his most extensive action yet.