With the 2023 NFL season under a week away from kickoff for the Denver Broncos, the team prepares for not only their first matchup of the season but also their first divisional task of the new year: the Las Vegas Raiders. The Broncos are currently on a six-game losing streak against their division foe Raiders, but look to change the narrative beginning Sunday in a highly anticipated matchup.
Despite a whirlwind of conversation and concern regarding the lack of receivers Denver decided to carry on the roster heading into the regular season, head coach Sean Payton and the Broncos seem to be fairly confident in the unit that has been put together after an impressive training camp. While some fans may share their doubts, a select wide receiver on the team and a few other players are set to make a bigger impact than expected in their 2023 season debut.
3 Denver Broncos set to make big impact in season opener vs. Raiders
WR Marvin Mims Jr.
One player who has gradually gained more and more traction as a top receiver for the Denver Broncos this season is none other than rookie WR Marvin Mims Jr. Entering his first offseason in the NFL, Mims Jr. was generally listed behind other veteran receivers as potential contributors in the offense. Earlier in the offseason, reports even surfaced that Mims Jr. was unlikely to have much of an impact at all in Denver's offense considering the target share that would have to be dedicated to starters such as Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, etc. However, following the unfortunate torn ACL suffered by vet WR Tim Patrick and many more injuries within the position, Mims Jr. quickly has been forced to transition from "special teams contributor" to "day one starting wide receiver".
Mims Jr., 21, is set to make his NFL debut on Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders in the season opener in front of all Denver Broncos fans. The Raiders are notoriously known for having rostered one of the worst secondaries in the entire NFL and did not do much this offseason to fix that issue besides bringing in CB Marcus Peters whose talent and skill is regressing by the year. Therefore, despite not having a ton of offensive weapons due to injury, the Broncos obtain the heavy advantage when it comes to positional matchups regarding Denver's wide receivers against Las Vegas' secondary.
In 2022, the Raiders' secondary allowed the fourth-most passing yards (4,129) and the sixth-most passing touchdowns (25). Considering they have not done much to improve the unit and also lost CB Rock Ya-Sin to the Baltimore Ravens in free agency, it would be to no surprise if Denver's wide receivers had a field day against this Raiders secondary. With WR Jerry Jeudy having a questionable status for the game with a hamstring injury, WR Courtland Sutton is expected to be QB Russell Wilson's "go-to" option with wide receivers Marvin Mims Jr. and Brandon Johnson on the field as well. Judging off Mims Jr.'s ability to stretch the field and track the ball at a high level so early in his career, he will most certainly be an instant contributor to Denver's passing game in the season opener.