When the Denver Broncos opened training camp this summer, they were looking for players to step up at the linebacker position. They were looking for a running back to complement second-year player Montee Ball.
One area they weren't worried about was wide receiver.
The Broncos have one of the most talented groups of receivers in the NFL. Demaryius Thomas has blossomed into one of the top receivers in the game, while Wes Welker and Emmanuel Sanders are both players Peyton Manning will rely on frequently.
One can also assume that Andre Caldwell will make the roster, and second-round draft pick Cody Latimer has all the makings of a future star.
The Broncos don't really need any more receivers, right?
Don't tell that to Jordan Norwood. The NFL veteran who spent two seasons in Cleveland is making the most of his chance in Denver. From the first day of camp, it was clear that he and backup quarterback Brock Osweiler had a good connection.
It's a cramped WR group, but I continue to be impressed by Jordan Norwood. Savvy veteran knows how to get open. #Broncos— Cecil Lammey (@cecillammey) June 11, 2014
Still, he had to be considered an extreme long shot to make the team. Along with Cleveland, Norwood had short stints in both Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. If he didn't catch on there, why would he here?
Which player will make the final roster?
Apparently, the Broncos have brought out the best in Norwood. On top of that, it's not just in practice where he has looked good.
On top of the depth that Norwood brings to the wide receiver position, he can also return punts and kicks. Because of that, the Broncos will be forced to take a long look at him.
If there is one thing the Broncos don't have at the moment, it is a clear-cut return man. It is a battle that Norwood is clearly winning, however.
Juwan Thompson, Jordan Norwood Turning Heads In Training Camp http://t.co/axMWCoiSHY— Eric Christensen (@cbseric) August 11, 2014
Against Seattle, Norwood picked up 20 yards on his only punt return. Isaiah Burse, the other player competing for kick-return duties, gained just four yards on his lone return.
Burse has a ton of upside despite going undrafted out of Fresno State, but the surprising play from Norwood may allow the Broncos to option the rookie to the practice squad.
Norwood came into camp with his back against the wall, knowing a roster spot would be tough to come by. He may not be a flashy guy, and he doesn't have breakaway speed. But when his number is called, he steps up.
There should be a spot on the 2014 Broncos squad for Norwood.