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Broncos on the Bubble: Jamar Johnson | S

Jamar Johnson could quickly find himself being pushed out of Broncos HQ.

After the Denver Broncos drafted two safeties in the fifth round last year, fans were arguably more excited for Jamar Johnson, but it was Caden Sterns who emerged as a rookie. Johnson dealt with a COVID designation and injuries which utterly sucked all the momentum out of his rookie summer.

Still, the Broncos kept him on the 53-man roster but at no point during the 2021 campaign did Johnson make an impact. It seemed like the NFL game was too fast for the former Indiana ballhawk and he was swimming in water too deep for his ken. 

Throw into that an aversion to tackling and Johnson is not cut out to be a core special teams player. That seriously puts a kink in his 2022 prospects under new defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and his special teams counterpart Dwayne Stukes.

The Broncos drafted Oklahoma safety Dellarin Turner-Yell in Round 5 this spring and meanwhile, P.J. Locke has brightened his profile within this new coaching staff, garnering public praise from coaches and teammates alike. Combined with the fact that the Broncos re-signed a 34-year-old Kareem Jackson and I have almost zero expectations that Johnson will stick in 2022. 

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The Broncos are under new leadership. GM George Paton is now in his second year at the helm and is coming off his first-ever head-coach hiring cycle. Johnson was part of Paton's maiden draft class but it's obvious that the team quickly lost patience with the young safety. 

Nathaniel Hackett became the Broncos' 18th head coach all-time and as he's settled into the job, he's had more than a passing opportunity to survey the roster. From watching film on all the players currently on the roster to actually coaching them on the field during organized team activities (albeit sans pads), Hackett is probably already forming an idea of just what shape the Broncos' roster is ultimately going to take come September.

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Hackett already has a gut feel for which holdovers from the previous regime, even the favorites, have a place on his squad. And the head coach knows whose days are numbered, too. 

Of course, any player that might currently reside on the bubble in the mind's eye of Paton and Hackett, including Johnson, will get the opportunity to reverse his fortune during training camp and the preseason. Every coaching staff has its favorites — even Vic Fangio, whom Hackett replaced in January.

There are a handful of Fangio holdovers — either players drafted, signed, or beloved — who stand currently on precarious footing. Don't be surprised if Johnson is among the names ultimately sent packing when the Broncos whittle the 90-man roster down to the final 53. 


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