The Denver Broncos' rookie minicamp has concluded and it's far too early to make definitive conclusions, but there are three rookies that should have some veteran players feeling the heat.
The NFL has an exodus of established players each season to make room for the perennial youth movement. The Broncos are not immune to this change-over and in fact, should welcome it in many cases.
This is especially true in instances where a rookie possesses the versatility to play more than one role that the corresponding vet sometimes cannot. It gives the team roster flexibility and with only 53 players making the final roster, that's of high importance.
The Broncos have three rookies who could put a veteran out of a job in 2022. Let's dive in.
Montreal Washington | WR/KR/PR
Typically, a fifth-round selection shouldn't make veterans nervous. The chance of making an impact early from these late-round selections is slim. However, Washington is in a different category.
First, he is more than likely to win the Broncos' returner job. There is nobody else currently on the roster who can be a threat to do damage in the return game.
Washington can and that is why he was drafted. Second, reports out of rookie camp indicate that he looks explosive and quick, even when compared to others at the same position.
With a roster spot taken for the return gig by Washington and subsequently, wide receiver, there is only one roster spot left in the receiver position group. Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, Jerry Jeudy, and KJ Hamler round out the top-four.
That leaves one spot, at best, for Kendall Hinton, Seth Williams, and Tyrie Cleveland to contend for. Hinton has been a very good story and has played well when called upon, but he could get cut if the Broncos decide on keeping only five receivers. All three of those veteran players should be very nervous.
Eyioma Uwazurike | DL
D.J. Jones and Dre'Mont Jones are a lock to make the final roster, leaving several players fighting over the last three or possibly four positions in the defensive line rotation. Uwazurike, a fourth-round pick, has experience playing along the D-line, giving him versatility, and that could be very attractive in the rotation.
Uwazurike's combination of size, length, and power make him a force to be reckoned with. He also showed good technique in the drills at rookie minicamp.
Delarrin Turner-Yell | S
Last season, fans witnessed fifth-round rookie Caden Sterns impress as a rookie and another, Jamar Johnson, make the final 53-man roster out of camp. It's not a stretch to think Turner-Yell can make enough impact to move some backups off the roster.
Sterns, Justin Simmons, and Kareem Jackson are not going anywhere, so that leaves the rest of the safeties fighting for a final spot. Turner-Yell is a slightly bigger and much faster version of P.J. Locke and it's not unfathomable to think he could take his his place on special teams.
The aforementioned Johnson was inactive for every game in 2021. Veteran free-agent signing J.R. Reid has not proven anything to the Broncos organization yet. Those three vets should be sweating their place on Denver's roster as training camp begins.
If any of the veterans mentioned above were to be cut or dealt, none would represent a big financial hit. The biggest impact would be Purcell at a $774,000 dead-cap figure if he were a post-June 1 designation.
Several, or even all, of the veterans listed here, could be on the outside looking in and a couple of them have real trade value. It's likely many of them will be attempting to land with other teams comes September.
Follow Thomas on Twitter @ThomasHallNFL.
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