Sean Payton might have no choice but to play some rookies in 2024

Throwing rookies into the fire might be the only choice for the Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Candice Ward/GettyImages

As rookie minicamp has officially begun, there's a topic at hand that we must discuss. Sean Payton isn't one to turn his rookies right out of the gate. His 2024 Broncos roster however might not give him a choice in that matter. After having a couple of shortened draft classes these past two years in addition to veteran players being let go, the team looks to get younger fast.

Last year the Denver Broncos fan base watched as Marvin Mims Jr. broke out in a big way with a couple of highlight plays early on in the season against the Washington Commanders. However, Mims was largely left out of the passing attack consistently from that point on. Payton has always given the veterans on the team ample playing time. With players like Sutton and Jeudy still on the team, Mims Jr. happened to be the odd man out more times than not. 

This was further proven when Payton told the media that Jeudy was largely blocking playing time for Mims Jr. given the type of receiver they both are. Now, with Jeudy in Cleveland and Mims Jr. looking at a larger role, what does that say for Troy Franklin, the wide receiver selected in the 2024 draft?

Franklin isn't the only rookie selected that might appear to have roadblocks in front of him at the moment. Others like Abrams-Draine, Estime, and Elliss might struggle to crack the rotation early on. Or will they? See, I believe this year's rookie class has more to offer right now. Franklin has chemistry with our soon-to-be starting quarterback in Nix. Estime also appears to be capable of stepping right into an early down role with Payton commenting on his ability to be a first and second down back. 

Elliss and Abrams-Draine also are coming into position groups that have needs in the starting department. The Broncos have severely lacked a legit pass rush for years and the starting cornerback opposite of Surtain II has been a revolving door of both veteran and younger talent. Elliss and Abrams-Draine have the opportunity to come in and take these positions early on if they want to. 

All in all, it would be outside of Payton's norm to start not one but multiple rookies in the same season but given the lack of production in the departments of the positions that they addressed, there is a valid argument to be made that we could see these rookies hearing their name called sooner than later. Which, I am here for.