"Program Get your Program!" Can't tell one player from another without your program!" was the hark I used to always here from people selling game programs with the list of the player numbers and heigth weight etc. On a Broncos team that is in transition that is especially true of the 2010 team.
There are obvious players that everybody and their dog will write about to preview this game against the Steelers; Orton, Quinn, Tebow to name a few.
Here are a few fringe players to watch to see if they step up and make a case to make the team. they may not be Broncos household names yet, but have a good chance to be so in the future.
1- Syd’Quan - no. 43: Thompson: the Smallish corner out of California was a 7th round pick in 2010 of the Broncos. Thought by many to be too small and not flat out fast enough to be a top corner prospect in the NFL, Denver considered him worth a late round selection. At 5’9 and 191, Thompson would appear to be lacking in the measurables it takes to make it in the NFL. Well not so fast! Thompson has shown a surprising quickness in short spaces and impressive ability to put the hit on somebody despite a reputation to the contrary. Syd’Quan Thompson has added value in both kick return and coverage, and has shown some ability to be a good cover corner.
2- Johnny Williams - no. 54: The 6’2 246 lbs Linebacker out of Kentucky was recently added by Denver and showed himself well in preseason play so far. Deceptively fast he has showed good sideline to sideline range and is a sure tackler. Johnny Williams has an outside shot to make the team that despite some high profile injuries is deceptively deep. Watch for his long dreads flying all over the field and making a case for making the team.
3- Matt Willis - no 12: This 3rd year former track star out of UCLA spent most of last year on the Broncos practice squad and was active last year for end of the season. While he has come out of the shadows with hot and cold play, Willis still may struggle to make a very deep receiving corps. Watch for Willis to correct some of the drops and continue to make some outstanding plays to make the team..
4- Justin Fargas - no. 25: This big bruiser back formerly of the Oakland Raiders is in his 8th year out of USC. This 6’1 220 back is a tough inside runner and has been the Raiders best producer despite the presence of McFadden and Bush, (Michael that is). Injury concerns led to his release and delay in catching on with a team but he seams to be healthy and have a real shot to make the team based on his hard inside running and pass catching performance. Look to see how he does in this game to improve his chances.
Side note: I for one had been calling for his signing since he was cut and we traded Hillis but I guess they waited till the Raider taint had had a chance to wear off lol.
5- Jamie Kirlew – no. 53: Like Syd'Quan Thompson, Kirlew is a 7th round pick, often called the throw away pick, and as such has no guarantee to make the team. He has Elvis Dumervil’s speed and motor and many think may be stouter against the run. The coaching staff have been quietly impressed with his play in training camp and OTAs but in a deep Linebacker corps has yet to make a real splash in games. The Staf is high enough on him that he should make the squad but he needs to have a good final two games to make that a surety.
6- Cassius Vaughn – no. 41: the free agent rookie out of Mississippi has good size and speed and so far has shown to be valuable in the kicking game both as a tackler and shown some burst as a return man in place of Perrish Coxx. Vaughn can play corner but at 5’11 and 195 may be better suited to safety. His contributions on special teams may give him an edge in a very deep crowded secondary.
There are many others that I could have profiled, and many other things to watch for in one of the most intriguing across the board team competitions in recent Broncos memory. This we know; the tough battles should, and hopefully will lead to a more prepared, versatile, deep Broncos team. I for one am very excited for the real football to begin.