Denver Broncos rookie third-rounder Baron Browning recently passed his physical and saw his first action this week after being activated off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. The linebacker also flashed early on in practice, despite wearing a bulky knee brace to help him recover from the injury which kept him out of most of the offseason program.
Broncos' GM George Paton resisted the urge to select highly-touted Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons early in the draft and instead he opted to go for the later value that Browning represents. At Ohio State, the 22-year-old excelled as a mobile and disruptive force, featured both inside and out for the Buckeyes.
Browning's versatile skill-set is one head coach Vic Fangio would love to just plug-and-play, but chances are, the team will have to proceed with caution until he is up to full speed. At least Browning was pleased to be finally getting some real reps, and he detailed how his recovery was progressing so far.
“It feels good to just to be out there moving around. The recovery was going good, (but) I had a little setback,” Browning told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “Just kind of had to wait for that to calm down, but I can only control what I can control.”
Fangio still maintains high hopes for Browning. Since the rookie arrived in Denver, he's been very coachable.
“He was a good player at Ohio State. He played hard, he played tough,” Fangio said. “You can tell he has a passion for the game. He’s a guy that’s very coachable and he’s fulfilled that so far. He’s had to overcome missing the entire offseason. We like where he’s at right now.”
For Fangio, getting Browning back is a late-summer bonus with the preseason now in full swing. It’s also provided a boost to his teammates, like Bradley Chubb, who is pleased to see the rookie back on the field again.
“It’s huge. I was so happy for him yesterday, even though we weren’t in pads and we were just running around in helmets,” Chubb said this week. “It was huge to see him out there running around, making plays and feeling comfortable again.”
Saturday's preseason Game 2 vs. the Seattle Seahawks may arrive a little too soon for the rookie to make his NFL debut, but Browning's trajectory to make the team and make a meaningful contribution down the line is on the rise.
Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.
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