Broncos 2nd-Year CB Riley Moss Dishes on How he Regained His Confidence

The Denver Broncos are going to need Riley Moss in 2024.
Nov 26, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Riley Moss (37) before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 26, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Riley Moss (37) before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

When NFL coaches use buzzwords to describe boundary cornerbacks, they frequently refer to a player's size, speed, and length. Those same characteristics no doubt prompted the Denver Broncos to trade up in the 2023 NFL draft to select Iowa cornerback Riley Moss.

Moss was haunted by the dreaded injury curse for most of his rookie campaign, but, deep down, you can feel that head coach Sean Payton really digs the 24-year-old's rangy skill set.

"So you feel his length. He has really good transitional skills, and I think he's smart," Payton said of Moss during OTAs. "He's picking up the technique, and he has versatility outside (and inside)."

While health setbacks made life difficult for Moss during Year 1, getting back the confidence to believe he truly belongs was always going to be a conundrum.

"In college, you see these guys in the NFL, and it's a little intimidating," Moss said via Andrew Mason of Denver Sports. "But once you get out here, really, there are very talented guys in the NFL—don't get me wrong—but you just have to have confidence and go out there and do your thing, because you're here for a reason."

What happens next on the Broncos? Don't miss out on any news and analysis! Take a second, sign up for our free newsletter, and get breaking Broncos news delivered to your inbox daily!

Moss was never going to have that light-bulb moment as a professional until he found his sea legs, so to speak. Finally getting on the field gave him the springboard he was searching for, and the former Hawkeye proved himself to be an ace gunner on special teams toward the season's end. 

Playing on coverage units massively helped Moss find a modicum of gameday rhythm, but getting additional reps in dime packages also gave him the confidence boost he badly needed.

"It stopped being intimidating, 100 percent," Moss said via Mason. "And it helped being able to go out there last year and get some dime reps and actually be able to get out there and play some defense."

It all should set the table nicely for Moss to make a real run against the likes of Damarri Mathis to win significantly increased playing time at the outside cornerback position opposite Patrick Surtain II. Indeed, you could say that whoever wins the starting outside cornerback slot playing opposite Surtain is being handed a poisoned chalice of sorts, and on a rep-to-rep basis.

There's really no great secret that opposing teams will be looking at Moss and licking their chops if he should end up manning the perimeter spot in 2024. The challenges will present themselves rather quickly, so Moss will need to bring all of his competitive instincts to fore if he's going to push for a starting job in Denver. 

Moss displayed some real positive signs that he can indeed howl at the moon during OTAs —  where he displayed all of the competitive fire and liberal doses of cornerback amnesia required to succeed in the NFL. He showcased it on one play against veteran wideout Josh Reynolds, in particular, when Moss used that potent package of speed, size, and instincts the Broncos truly covet.

"Just ran the go ball on me and I got great size and speed," Moss said as he recounted the play against Reynolds. "Those are my favorite balls to defend, to be honest with you. When I saw the ball come up, just make a play on it.

Doing serious battle in training camp will serve a greater purpose for Moss, it might even win him a starting job, but he's only starting to climb a pretty steep NFL learning curve. Denver defensive coordinator Vance Joseph certainly isn't going to hand out any free passes to Moss simply because the front office paid a hefty price to go get him.

These days, pretty much everyone around Dove Valley these days is preaching "iron sharpens iron" once again, but the coaching staff is also determined to put the players in a better position overall to succeed.

"It's been [a] competition. I told the guys, it's tough to say that we're competing for jobs," Joseph said on the last day of mandatory minicamp. "It's more about learning the system, being your best in training camp. People competing for any job in football based on having pads on, and those things, playing with pressure and having consequences. Spring ball is tough to gauge who is winning jobs because it has no consequences. That's saved for training camp. So far it's been healthy [competition]. It's a young group, so the energy is high every single day, and that's a good thing early."

Follow Mile High Huddle on X and Facebook and subscribe on YouTube for daily Broncos live-stream podcasts!

Keith Cummings


Keith Cummings has covered the Denver Broncos at Mile High Huddle since 2019. His works have been featured on,,, and