6 Broncos players who need to play big in preseason opener

- Players will be trying to make the team, but also show fans that this team is different

- Last year's first draft pick needs to make some noise

- Fans should be keeping an eye on these players

Denver Broncos v Carolina Panthers
Denver Broncos v Carolina Panthers / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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The Denver Broncos will open their 2023 preseason this Friday night against the Arizona Cardinals.

Not only will fans be anxious to see some football, but the clock is ticking to the official start of the 2023 season. The Broncos have a bunch of questions to answer this season and fans are going to be eager to see signs of improvement right out of the gate.

Sean Payton will be on the sideline for the first time as the team's coach and we will get a look at how this team may operate this season. Plus, Payton has already announced that the starters are going to play.

That is a good thing, regardless of how unimportant some feel that the preseason is. Starters getting reps is a good thing and, in my mind, was the first massive mistake made last year by Nathaniel Hackett.

This will be a key game for the team even if training camp is still fresh. It will be good to see how things stand, how some players look and what kind of competition actually exists within some of these position battles.

These six players need to bring it and have a good night against the Cardinals.

Denver Broncos linebacker Nik Bonitto (42) sacks Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) in
Denver Broncos linebacker Nik Bonitto (42) sacks Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) in / George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA

Broncos players who need to come up big in first preseason game: Nik Bonitto, Edge

Let's face it, Nik Bonitto had a poor rookie season. The reasons for that could be many and are anyone's guess at this point, but the bottom line is that year two needs to be a lot better. If not, that "bust" word will start to get casually tossed around.

What better time to start than right out of the gate?

Bonitto should see a decent amount of snaps in this game and if he can get pressure on Cardinals quarterbacks and create some disruption or even get a sack, encouragement will start to build.

Bonitto had a high draft grade by most every draft analyst coming out of college, so the Broncos certainly didn't reach when they selected him. Let's just hope the new coaching staff is able to get more out of him than the last one did.