By Marc Mandell
As our cravings continue to grow for Denver Bronco football, until late July when training camp starts and the season is just around the corner, we must find some small fixes through out the offseason. At least in Denver we have the Rockies right? Ha Ha Ha!! Almost got through that with out laughing. Better luck next time huh?
I’m sure most of us in Broncos country know, that not only is the Brass at Dove Valley very capable of putting together a Championship team through Free Agency and the Draft, they are also very good at the undrafted college free agent market. These are players who declared for the draft, however after the 7 rounds of the official draft, these players were still left available. Whether they lacked speed, talent, or the position they play simply had too much depth through out the college ranks, for one reason or another, teams didn’t think highly enough of them to spend an actual draft pick on them. It doesn’t indicate that these guys are bereft of ability though. You see in the past, Denver has had some solid names produce in a very big way. Even great in some cases. Chris Harris, C.J. Anderson, Mike Bell and going way back to Rod Smith. All of these guys have left their mark on us as fans and the game of football itself. Go check around the league, it’s not just in the mile high city. Arian Foster, Michael Bennett and Antonio Gates just to name a few. All these players have had an enormous impact on their teams. Great value right? So as the new year approaches here is a brief look at who yours truly thinks will make the final 53 for the Broncos.
After missing out on a LB and a TE in late April, Denver went after these positions post draft. In all they picked up 21 guys. Players who are hoping to have an opportunity to compete at the highest level. So for the sake of having this not be a 3000 word count blog, I’m going to narrow it down straight away to 3 players. I say these three players based on position, need and potential. Here we go!
Henry Krieger Coble TE Iowa
Eddie Yarbrough OLB Wyoming
Nathan Theus LS Georgia
First up, the TE from Iowa, Henry Krieger. I like him to make this team, not just because of a righteous name like Krieger, or the fact that i will want to call him Dr. Krieger, but because he can cover ground efficiently even though he is no speedster. He can run block well and works with strength in pass blocking. He can stick to his guy (defender) and get good push off the line of scrimmage. He will line up on next to the tackle or off the ball as a slot receiver. Although he isn’t the most athletic guy, his route running skills are good and with strong mitts he can catch the ball, even in tough places. He can play multiple downs, and provide good depth at a position of need.
Now on to Eddie Yarbrough, OLB. Discipline and awareness are what come to mind when I watch this guy play. He isn’t the strongest player, but he can break down plays as they develop. By the end of some of the games last year, offenses wouldn’t even run to his side of the field. It tells me that offenses have to know where he is at when he is on the field, which is all the time, at all times. Playing most downs and playing them well is what makes offenses pay attention to you. Even when the play is on the other side of the field, Yarbrough can break off his assignment, get downfield and make a play at the ball. I like the motor here. His pass rushing skills are a little raw, but he does have good talent for it no doubt. Just like run stopping, he keeps his feet and legs moving at all times, and has a good first step. In a league where you can never have too many pass rushers, need of depth here, I think this DE from Wyoming, that does need to add a little weight in the NFL, has the best chance to make the final 53. But we have got one more spot to look at first.
Last but certainly not least, Long Snapper Nathan Theus from Georgia. I only put him in here because the Broncos released Arron Brewer at the end of the season for some reason. Usually if you, as a fan don’t hear a name called in regard to the Oline, it means he is doing something right. His release was a surprise. So now aside from Mr. Theus, Denver has no other long snapper on the roster. The job of a long snapper is to snap the ball a long way. Not much to evaluate to be honest. He can in fact do just that so he has a pretty good shot at making the team. I know its not sexy, but keep in mind that when its playoff time, you want reliability. Doesn’t have to be a sexy position but it is very important. Just ask Minnesota, or New England or Carolina.
I think that Eddie Yarbrough and Mr. Long Snapper Theus will make the team. Yep two fellas. The final 53 man roster is a very tough list to make, so the thought of having two undrafted free agents make the team is a bit lofty, but i’m keeping the faith for these two. It is my opinion that Krieger will make the practice squad and there is a chance we could see him later on in the year. Like I said earlier, the Broncos have a very long and very positive history of undrafted free agents making an impact on the team, and this year is no different. Camp is just 10 weeks away. Yeah, 10 weeks ya’ll. Hot diggity dog i cant freaking wait and i’m sure you feel the same way. In 12 weeks we will have been able to get a good look at the Free Agents, Draft selections and the UDFA’s that the Denver Broncos have picked up since winning SB50. Still love the sound of that. So stay tuned everybody as next week i will cover the First Quarter of the schedule for your 2015 Super Bowl Champs!!!!