Denver Broncos: New Broncos share a trait that Payton covets

NFL Combine
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The Denver Broncos have spent the off-season re-tooling the roster in Sean Payton's image. Is there a common trait that all of the new acquisitions share?

The Broncos have wrapped up their Draft weekend by selecting 5 (6, if you include Adam Trautman) players. The team surprised us with several trades on Day 2, aggressively targeting players like Marvin Mims Jr. and Riley Moss. While these players currently share the limelight, a deeper look into the Broncos' off-season acquisitions tells a grittier tale. For every Mike McGlinchey, there's a Samaje Perine, who bounced between three different teams before landing in Denver. Or Chris Manhertz, who clung onto different practice squads, trying to learn how to play football. Lastly, let's not forget about Alex Singleton. He spent several years in the CFL trying to prove he's worthy of a legit shot in the NFL.

If you look at the entire list of Broncos acquisitions, many share a unique trait. Beyond the tape, RAS Scores, and draft status, the Broncos have acquired players with a great amount of toughness. This trait can come in many forms but make no mistake, some of the newest Broncos had careers hardened by adversity.

Let's take a look at some of players acquired this off-season

- Samaje Perine (4th round pick by WAS, played for 3 teams prior to DEN. 502 career touches)
- Chris Manhertz (Undrafted, played for 4 teams. 24 Career receptions. 2 TD's)
- Jarrett Stidham (4th round pick. Displaced by Cam Newton and Mac Jones in NE. Traded to LV.)
- Tremon Smith (6th round pick. Played for 5 teams)
- Michael Burton (5th round pick. Played for 5 teams)
- Kyle Fuller (7th round pick. Played for 4 teams)

And the list goes on. Do we see a common theme amongst the bulk of our off-season signings? All of them were guys that have bounced around the league but found a way to survive. Lost in the high-flying offenses of today's NFL is the root of where the game's identity lies. Since its inception, football has been a game that prides itself on physical and mental toughness. Surviving injuries, losing stretches, coaching changes, and tough defeats can cultivate a player's toughness. I don't need to remind anyone how much the Broncos have lacked that quality in recent years. I'm not saying players should play through concussions or other serious ailments. I'm referring to the kind of conditioned toughness that winning cultures have.

Do you think someone who has been cut by five teams will give up easily on a play? Or what about a guy that went undrafted at an unglamorous position? Do you think he'd take a snap for granted? Sean Payton's teams have always had a physical, thick-skinned presence. Unsurprisingly, he's remolding the Broncos into a physical, take no lip team that will battle on every play. If the Broncos are ever going to get back on top of the AFC West (much less, the entire league) then they need to embrace the injection of toughness.

I mean, you signed a guy with the last name of Manhertz. That was our red herring of how the team would be built moving forward—no more sideline confrontations between teammates or post-play tantrums. Sean Payton's teams will play a no-nonsense brand of football. Again, we shouldn't expect anything less from a descendant of the Parcells coaching tree. This Broncos regime will be stronger, better prepared, and, yes, tougher than its predecessors. I'd go as far as to say that the mentality Payton has brought to Dove Valley is one that's never existed with the team prior to his arrival.

If we are to draw a parallel to a former Bronco team, perhaps we should hope for an output similar to the 2005 team. With a dominant run game, bootleg-happy passing attack, and a tenacious, crafty defense, the 2005 Broncos were able to will their way to 13 wins, en route to the AFC Championship Game. Oh, and they managed to defeat the then-unbeaten Brady/Belichick Patriots in the playoffs along the way. While that team fell two wins short of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, their blueprint may be one that's replicated in this current Broncos team. Effective, in your face, and to the point.

Sean Payton wants to lift the Broncos back into relevance ASAP. That means doing what needs to be done to stack wins. If Russell Wilson can reclaim his pre-2022 production, fantastic. If not, Payton has taken steps to ensure the team will not falter drastically. The Bread and Butter of the 2023 Denver Broncos will be winning from the ground. That, in essence, will radiate from the team's physical and mental toughness. Great teams always have their "lunch pail" guys doing the hard work while other players get the limelight. If anything has been proven this off-season, it is that Sean Payton emphasized his rebuild with the lunch pale guys in mind.

So Broncos Country, put on your hard hats. This new Broncos team will be playing a physical and tougher brand of football that has rarely been seen in the Orange and Blue before. As long as it means that wins will follow, we'll all happily latch onto that bandwagon.

Next. Denver Broncos 53-man roster prediction post-Draft. dark