The Denver Broncos are five days deep into training camp and will have their first padded practice on Tuesday. There have been a lot of players performing well, but the padded practice is when certain guys often struggle, especially rookies.
With five practices down and on the doorstep of intensity rising with pads, how have the Broncos' rookies looked so far?
Patrick Surtain III | CB | Round 1
When it comes to Surtain, make sure to check out the video at the top of the article which is a deep-dive on his progress. He has earned a lot of praise from Bryce Callahan, Ronald Darby, Justin Simmons, and Vic Fangio.
To put it simply, Surtain has mostly looked like a veteran out there. It hasn’t all been perfect, which should be expected as a rookie, but he is showing why Denver used the ninth overall pick on him.
Javonte Williams | RB | Round 2
The rookie running back is showing tremendous ability as a ball-carrier and as a receiver. There is an issue when it comes to evaluating running backs without pads on because the run game requires more physicality than you can bring in non-padded practices. Williams has garnered some good praise from teammates and the head coach already.
It really isn’t surprising that the second-rounder is impressing, but he is a more physical runner. When the pads come on, that's when the true evaluation of Williams will come. Everything coming out of practice makes it clear he is the RB2 behind Melvin Gordon, and part of that is because the veteran has seemingly upped his game.
Quinn Meinerz | IOL | Round 3
While many thought there would be a battle between Lloyd Cushenberry III and Meinerz for the first-string center job, Fangio put an end to that on Day 1. There is a lot of potential with Meinerz and he is doing a good job displaying that, but he is clearly behind the curve, which, coming from a Division III school, isn’t surprising.
The offensive line is probably the hardest position group to evaluate without pads. Everything favors the defensive line without pads. Meinerz is one that should be watched that much more closely when the pads come on to see if there is a big difference in what he shows out there.
Baron Browning | LB | Round 3
There isn’t anything to update on Browning because he has been on the physically unable to participate (PUP) list and has yet to practice. Hopefully, that changes in the coming days.
Caden Sterns | S | Round 5
Sterns has probably been the second most-impressive rookie for the Broncos and it may not be close. With his fellow rookie safety Jamar Johnson out, Sterns has seemed to really take hold of the No. 3 safety spot and like Surtain, isn’t looking like a rookie out there. There has been a lot of praise for Sterns already after the first five days of practice.
It isn’t just on the field that Sterns is drawing praise, but also in the film room. Kareem Jackson spoke to how Sterns is picking things up quickly in the film room and then carrying it over to the field and not making the same mistakes. That is high praise for a young safety that hopes to continue a tradition Fangio has with successful mid-to-late-round safeties during his coaching career.
Jamar Johnson | S | Round 5
Before camp started, Johnson was placed on the COVID/Reserve list where he has remained since and has yet to practice.
Seth Williams | WR | Round 6
There hasn’t been much said about the rookie receiver, but Denver is really deep there and the team has Trinity Benson and Kendall Hinton really showing up. Those two stepping up is not good news for Williams as he tries to make the Broncos roster.
There have been some catches for Williams in practice, with one being a touchdown on a slant route. What is being said about him makes it clear he is using his size. With his play style, it will be interesting to see how much he improves when the pads come on.
Kary Vincent, Jr. | CB | Round 7
Like Johnson, Vincent was placed on the COVID/Reserve List. He did come off for a single practice but seemed to get banged up and left.
Jonathon Cooper | OLB | Round 7
There hasn’t been much seen or said about Cooper. Former Buckeye teammate Dre’Mont Jones did praise his work ethic.
"He will give it his all, 100%, no drop-off,” Jones said. It's exactly what was seen on Coopers’ tape. He is an effort player that never shuts off or slows down his motor.
Marquiss Spencer | DL | Round 7
Fangio spoke to how well Spencer is doing in camp so far. While the rookie has mostly been working with the third unit, he has made some plays in camp. The bigger news is how he is taking to coaching and really putting in the work, both of which were concerns coming out of Mississippi State this past draft.
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