Editor’s note: Seventh in a series previewing each Broncos position group entering the start of training camp on Tuesday.
When the Broncos lost to Las Vegas in last season’s finale, Michael Ojemudia and Parnell Motley played all 67 defensive snaps and Will Parks saw 53 plays of work.
Translation: Something needed to be done to address a cornerback position riddled by injuries, suspension and ineffectiveness and new general manager George Paton went to work.
In are veterans Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller and first-round pick Pat Surtain II.
The three cornerbacks from the Raiders game? Ojemudia will start camp at No. 4 or 5 on the depth chart, Motley faces a tough climb to make the roster and Parks is in Kansas City.
“(The front office) went out and hit the ground running to dress up our whole secondary and give us great depth,” defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said. “We’re delighted to have some veteran cornerbacks (Fuller/Darby) and then a Top 10 pick (Surtain).”
The new cornerbacks join the formidable safety duo of Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson. Simmons is the game’s highest-paid safety in terms of average salary ($15.25 million) and Jackson was re-signed shortly after his contract option was declined.
S Justin Simmons (third round 2016), S Kareem Jackson (free agent ’19), CB Bryce Callahan (free agent ‘19), CB Essang Bassey (undrafted free agent ’20), CB Michael Ojemudia (third round ’20), CB Duke Dawson (trade ’19), S Trey Marshall (undrafted free agent ’17), S P.J. Locke (free agent ‘19), CB Nate Hairston (free agent ’20) and CB Parnell Motley (free agent ’20).
Simmons has played every defensive snap the last three years and totaled 97, 93 and 96 tackles and a combined 12 interceptions. Franchise tagged for the second consecutive offseason, he signed a four-year, $61 million contract in March.
Jackson was released with one season remaining on a three-year, $33 million deal, but after testing the free-agent market, returned on a one-year, $5 million contract.
Callahan was playing well until a foot injury shut him down in early December. The cornerback additions will likely move him into a full-time nickel role.
Ojemudia missed a team-high 15 tackles and, well, if he’s playing a lot this year, it’s because the position group has again been decimated by injuries.
Locke and Marshall could be fighting for one roster spot as a reserve safety/special teams ace.
CB Ronald Darby (free agent), CB Kyle Fuller (free agent), CB Pat Surtain II (first round), S Jaden Sterns (fifth round), S Jamar Johnson (fifth round), CB Kary Vincent (seventh round) and CB Mac McCain (undrafted free agent).
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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports