JACK DEMPSEY/Associated Press
The Broncos added a slot receiver with the ability to be a star when they signed Isaiah Burse as a college free agent. This wide receiver class was incredibly talented, and that may have caused him to go undrafted even though he caught 100 passes last year at Fresno State.
He has elite quickness and can make ankle-breaking moves regularly. He has good burst in and out of his breaks and loves to toy with defenders in the open field.
In college he was a consistent and trusted receiver of quarterback Derek Carr. In 13 games during the 2013 season, Burse had 10 games with five or more catches. His consistency wasn’t the only thing of note from his college days.
He was clutch when the team needed to make a comeback. When his team trailed by seven or less points, he caught a majority of his passes (25) and touchdowns (three) in 2013.
At minicamp he has stood out because of his quickness and ability to gain yards after the catch. He can run jerk routes to get open underneath, but he can also fly downfield for a deep target. Burse does a good job of tracking passes over his shoulder, and he has good body control near the pylon.
Several slot receivers were undrafted yet became solid players (or more) in the NFL. The Broncos very own Wes Welker was undrafted when he came out of Texas Tech in 2004. He started with the San Diego Chargers as a college free agent, but they cut him, so he had to then a roster spot with the Miami Dolphins.
Welker loves being a role model for Burse.
“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 said.
“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.”
Like Welker, Burse is lightning-quick on the football field. The Broncos don’t want to make the same mistake the Chargers did years ago. He could make the active roster as the fifth- or sixth-string wide receiver on the depth chart. His ability as a return man means that he could have an opportunity to make plays for the Broncos this year.