JACK DEMPSEY/Associated Press
The Broncos have a knack for finding quality talent from the ranks of the college free agents available after the draft. Just because a player is undrafted doesn’t mean they can’t play. Several stars in the NFL have been overlooked in the draft.
The Broncos could have a budding star in wide receiver Isaiah Burse from Fresno State.
Burse has tremendous quickness on the football field. He’s difficult to cover because of the ankle-breaking moves he has after the catch. Burse uses his quickness to get in and out of his breaks cleanly, and this helps him get open often.
He has the foot quickness to change direction without losing much speed. This makes his moves after the catch even more dangerous. Burse loves to set up defenders with double moves, and he can leave an opponent grasping for air as he runs by.
In addition to being a possible star as a receiver, Burse can also be relied on as a return man for the Broncos. Last year’s return man, Trindon Holliday, was allowed to leave in free agency and is now with the New York Giants. Holliday was not much of a receiving option, but Burse could be a budding slot receiver of the future in Denver.
I asked superstar Wes Welker why slot receivers often were overlooked in the draft. Like Burse, Welker was also an undrafted free agent when he came out of Texas Tech in 2004.
“I think a slot receiver is more of a savvy type, quickness-type deal. Not necessarily a straight-line speed-type deal. I don’t know if that’s it. Obviously we’re not the biggest specimens out there or anything like that. And not the guys that coaches sit there and see and think, ‘Wow we’ve got have this guy,’ or anything else.” Welker concluded, “But I think it’s just a lot of toughness and really just being a good football player, and understanding the game and really understanding what defenses are trying to do, and from there just adjusting.”
Burse looks up to Welker, and that’s humbling for the veteran receiver.
“It’s great. It makes me feel old, that’s for sure. But no, it’s very cool. As a young guy whenever I was coming in, I was in San Diego, it was Tim Dwight and Eric Parker, and some of those guys that I looked up to. So I think you have to have that guy, that mentor, that guy, that older guy to kind of show you, not only through watching him in practice and everything else, but asking questions and trying to get on the same page, and understanding what he’s seeing and why he ran his route like that, or whatever.” Welker emphasized, “That’s how you get better. And so that’s good to see from those young guys wanting to get better and asking those questions.”
Burse looks like he’s a quick study, and that could help him make the final roster this season.
All quotes and injury/practice observations obtained firsthand. Record/statistical information provided via email from the Denver Broncos.
Cecil Lammey can be followed on Twitter @CecilLammey