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8 Under-the-Radar Shrine Game Prospects for Broncos to Watch

The Shrine Game rosters have talent but there are some flying under the radar that could be of interest to the Broncos.

The Denver Broncos have roster holes that need to be addressed. However, the Broncos have plenty of assets to do just that starting with their salary-cap space and draft picks. 

GM George Paton had a successful first draft with promising early returns, and the Broncos need him to replicate it. Part of what made his draft process such a hit was tapping into prospects that got a chance to strut their stuff during the scouting games. 

While the Senior Bowl gets most of the attention, the East-West Shrine Bowl boasts a lot of talent and the Broncos have found multiple key players there. 

With the Shrine Bowl set to kick off on February 3, here are eight prospects that are currently flying under the radar for the Broncos to get a closer look at. 

Offense

Jerreth Sterns | WR | Western Kentucky

Sterns is a smaller slot wide receiver and the younger brother of Broncos safety Caden Sterns. Sterns caught 150 passes for nearly 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns in his year at Western Kentucky, showing how dangerous he is when attacking deep and turning short catches into big plays. 

With KJ Hamler's status for 2022 up in the air after his torn ACL, the Broncos could improve their slot receiver depth. Sterns has shown to be a playmaker and offers skills as a returner. At the very least, Denver would be giving itself an excellent chance to upgrade Diontae Spencer. 

Josh Johnson | WR | Tulsa

While he never totaled more than 500 yards in a season until 2021, Johnson has flashed big-play potential the last two years with 12 total touchdowns. In 2021, he eclipsed 1,100 total yards and showed he can attack defenses deep with speed. Although he is a bit on the smaller side and can struggle at the catch point, he works exceptionally well in space. 

Johnson hasn't had a chance to show what he can do as a returner, but he does show some desired traits you want in a returner when he works after the catch. He has good vision, burst to find a lane, and turn on the gas to get extra yards for the offense. As a late-round or undrafted option, he adds to the depth competition and another option to compete for returner duties. 

Lucas Krull | TE | Pittsburgh 

While there is a lot of attention on Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett, there is also a tight end that could hear his name called in the draft. Krull has proven his value as a safety-net tight end leaking out and showing flashes as a blocker. There will need to be work done with his blocking for the NFL, but he shows the necessary traits needed. 

In his first three years, Krull caught 10 passes for 114 yards but increased his workload in 2021, catching 38 passes for 451 yards and six total touchdowns. He does a good job disguising his leak-out and selling the block to make him so effective, especially in the red zone. 

Vederian Lowe | OT | Illinois

The Broncos need to build up their depth at tackle, which was hit-or-miss this past season. Lowe is a big tackle option with traits that need development. 

During the 2021 season, he allowed four sacks, with two of them coming against Purdue vs. one of the top edge prospects in the class. Additionally, Lowe allowed just 12 total QB pressures on the season while playing vs. some talented pass rushers. 

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Lowe brings good power, but the technique has to be developed. There is no question that he is a project at tackle that will take a year or two, but he does have starter potential. It'll take a lot of work to get him there. Developing him to be a depth piece is more likely than a starter. 

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Defense

Matt Henningsen | IDL | Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Badgers have some talent on their defensive line, and while the top guy on the unit returned to school, Henningsen is one to watch out for. Standing at 6-foot-3 and roughly 290 pounds, Henningsen can play from the 3-to the 5-technique with versatility in the scheme. He is a strong run defender, and if he gets his hands on the ball-carrier, rarely does he not make the tackle. 

While he is a better run defender, Henningsen does have some pass rush to his play and picked up four sacks this season, with two of them coming against a tough Notre Dame offensive line. Henningsen isn't the most gifted athlete, but he offers enough to be a key rotational piece on a defensive line right away with a chance to develop into a starter. 

Jeffrey Gunter | Edge | Coastal Carolina

If Denver is switching to an even front with both edges working out of a three-point stance, Gunter could be an excellent later option to better the depth. While playing at Coastal Carolina, he hasn't faced the toughest competition, but he did an outstanding job getting consistent pressure and standing firm against the run. Over the last three seasons, Gunter picked up 21 sacks, including six from this previous season. 

There is a concern with the strength in his hands, as some ball-carriers have broken out of his grasp. However, he is reasonably quick with solid athleticism to be a depth rusher, which the Broncos desperately need to figure out. Getting consistent pressure was an issue for the Broncos last season, so not only do they need help at the top of the depth chart, they need more competition at the bottom, too. 

Ali Fayed | Edge | Western Michigan

If the Broncos stick with more two-point stance pass rushers, Fayed makes a lot of sense. He has good quickness and bursts off the snap, but his get-off is awkward and clunky when working out of a three-point stance. While he didn't face tough offensive lines often, he consistently dominated the competition he went against. 

With 58 total pressures, Fayed picked up 13 sacks during the 2021 college season. However, he will have to work to better his run defense and tackling as he missed 13 tackles. Fayed is a good athlete, but the strength isn't always there, which could limit him to a pass rush specialist in the NFL.

Micah McFadden | LB | Indiana

If Denver wants to add to its linebacker corps, this is an excellent year to attack the depth of the class. McFadden is a solid Day 3 option to help bolster the depth at the position. However, once in the NFL, whoever picks him up will have to work with him to be far more consistent as a defender. 

McFadden could have a role on special teams right away, which teams often look for on Day 3, but he has traits to be utilized on defense. He works exceptionally well coming downhill, especially as a pass rusher, but offers up some coverage ability, as long as you're not asking him to do a lot. His run defense is solid between the tackles but can be a problem working outside, and his tackling form has to be cleaned up. 


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