5 surprise standouts early in Denver Broncos training camp

- Wide receivers stepping up

- Ben DiNucci impressing?

- Former 2nd-round pick showing up

Denver Broncos
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2. Nik Bonitto, EDGE

The Denver Broncos desperately needed someone in their pass rush unit to emerge over the course of training camp, and quite frankly, they desperately needed it to be Nik Bonitto. The former second-round pick out of Oklahoma was a slight disappointment as a rookie despite not being picked until the 64th overall selection.

Expectations should have been tempered, but even with that being said, Bonitto was still a second-round pick and you expect a bit more from a player with that kind of draft status.

So far, it sounds like Bonitto -- who became somewhat of an afterthought in the pass rush group -- has looked really good.

We all know Bonitto has big-time speed off the edge, but the ability to play the run consistently will likely make or break his opportunity. He has to be able to set the edge consistently. If he can do that, then his pass rush repertoire can really be a weapon in regular season NFL games.

Sean Payton stated after Wednesday's practice that this is a "big training camp" for the second-year pro:

"We have his college coach. Obviously sometimes there’s a bigger learning curve for guys. It’s a production position, right. It’s one in which you’re getting to the quarterback, you’re affecting him—doesn’t mean you have to be sacking him—and then you’re holding up in the running game. This will be a big training camp for him."

Sean Payton

Imagine for a moment that Bonitto can be a factor for the Denver Broncos this season. The team eventually will get Baron Browning back, and with the emergence of Bonitto and Jonathon Cooper behind veterans Frank Clark and Randy Gregory...the Broncos might have something really cooking off the edge.