3 Undrafted Denver Broncos Rookies in Prime Position to Make Final Roster

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3 Undrafted Denver Broncos Rookies in Prime Position to Make Final Roster
JACK DEMPSEY/Associated Press

On paper, the Denver Broncos have the most impressive roster in the NFL. But as we saw last year, the best roster on paper doesn't translate to a championship.

For the 2014 Broncos, it will take the effort of the entire 53-man squad to bring home a Super Bowl win.

Sure, Peyton Manning will probably launch an assault on the record books again, and the tandem of DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller will terrorize opposing quarterbacks. But players who chip in when least expected could tip the scales in Denver's favor.

The team has three undrafted players who will have every chance to make the final roster and contribute to the goal of a championship once they do.

 

Lerentee McCray

Lerentee McCray was an undrafted rookie out of Florida last year, but missed the entire season after suffering an injury in the last game of the preseason.

It was a disappointing loss for the team, as McCray had impressed during training camp.

McCray hasn't let it discourage him, however. He should get a long look this offseason as the team hopes to find another linebacker who can man the middle of the defense. A linebacker who can get out and cover the tight end would be a huge bonus as well.

McCray has the ability to do that. He can also play the run and get after the quarterback.

McCray has been plagued by injuries, dating back to his college career, and that will be his biggest hurdle to overcome. If he does, he is a good bet to make the team this year.

 

Isaiah Burse

The Broncos have a talented wide receiving corps in place, but it will be hard to pass up the versatility that Isaiah Burse brings.

Burse, an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State, is coming off a stellar 2013 season in which he had 100 receptions in the Bulldogs' pass-happy offense led by quarterback Derek Carr.

As the all-time leader in all-purpose yards at Fresno State, Burse will be one of the most exciting players to watch in preseason games this year for his quickness and playmaking ability alone.

The Denver coaching staff will love the fact that he is very aggressive as a receiver and can stretch the field. He is also very adept as a blocker.

But the area Burse will help out with the most is on special teams.

With Trindon Holliday signing with the New York Giants as a free agent, the Broncos don't have a clear-cut kickoff or punt returner. Burse may be the best option on the entire roster.

Burse averaged over 12 yards per punt return last season, bringing two back for touchdowns.

Holliday was never used as anything more than a return man in Denver, but they kept him on the roster. His small stature combined with his shaky ball security likely led to him never being in on offensive plays.

Burse is not only a good return man, he could contribute on offense right away and be a player the Broncos could groom for a larger role at wide receiver in the future.

 

Juwan Thompson

If you are a running back for the Denver Broncos at this time, there is a huge opportunity to be had.

Montee Ball is the only sure thing on the roster. Beyond that, Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson should get plenty of chances to contribute, but don't overlook the undrafted rookies the team brought in.

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Though Kapri Bibbs and Brennan Clay are both interesting prospects, Juwan Thompson is the player for Denver fans to watch.

Most teams in the NFL employ a committee approach at running back, and while Denver will certainly lean heavily on Ball, they will have to turn to other players from time to time.

Thompson's ability to catch the ball is why he will have a great chance of making the team in Denver. Because of that, he could be a very serviceable third-down back as a rookie.

He is also very versatile. Much like Burse, Thompson can contribute in more than one area. As a special teams captain at Duke, he made plays all over the field.

There aren't many negative aspects to Thompson's game. He's just a good, consistent football player.

If Anderson steps up and morphs into the backup to Ball, Thompson could give Hillman a serious push for the No. 3 spot. That makes him a very interesting player to follow in camp and preseason games.

The Broncos have a history of having undrafted rookies make the final roster. Chris Harris and Steven Johnson have both done it in recent years.

This year, there will be a real possibility of multiple players accomplishing that feat.

 

 

 

 

 

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