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Three Things From Denver Broncos Rookie Minicamp and other odds and ends…

Brandon Krisztal Avatar
May 11, 2015

 

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — There’s only one real headline as the Denver Broncos wrapped up its two-day rookie minicamp, and it’s not that May snow and rain forced them to practice inside both days.

1) Jeff Heuerman suffered a torn ACL: It’s hard to think of a worse way start to a career than the third-round Tight End from Ohio State. Heuerman’s injury occurred during the Saturday afternoon practice of rookie minicamp and put a damper on what was an upbeat camp, otherwise.

“I feel terrible for Jeff and this is an unfortunate situation,” Head Coach Gary Kubiak said. “Jeff was going to be a big part of our team this year and he’s still going to be a big part of our team and organization in the future.

“He’ll get well and be with us as part of this team throughout his rehabilitation.”

Heuerman, was slated to contribute heavily on special teams, work in some multiple TE sets and most importantly learn from veteran TE Owen Daniels, who’s spent his entire 10-year NFL career playing under Kubiak.

“[It was] nice to finally run around and play some football. It was a long pre-draft process, so it’s nice to finally get out there on the field and play some actual football., Heuerman said after Friday’s morning practice.”

He sustained the injury running downfield in a special teams drill. The 6-6, 251-pound Heuerman was having a superb camp, highlighted by a one-handed grab during the open viewing period, Friday. He was finally healthy after battling injuries throughout senior season in Columbus. In pre-season camp, his foot was stepped on, and he sprained his ankle in the Buckeyes National Championship victory over Oregon.

No date for his surgery has been set. According to the team, Heuerman is expected to miss the entire 2015 season.

2) The Broncos undrafted streak is in jeopardy: Since Colorado Springs native Roc Alexander made the 53-Man roster in 2004, the Broncos have had a remarkable streak of undrafted players make the roster. Despite three different head coaches and a-half-dozen “chief” personnel men in that time, one undrafted college free agent has survived each round of cuts to make the team. Some of those players, like linebacker Wesley Woodyard (now with the Tennessee Titans) were multi-year team captains. Others, like punter Brett Kern and defensive lineman Chris Baker have found more stable homes, Tennessee and Washington, respectively.

Remarkably, six of those players are still with the franchise. The two most notable, of course, are a pair of Pro Bowlers, cornerback Chris Harris (second-team All-Pro) and running back C.J. Anderson. Because the Broncos drafted nine players, it was already going to be an uphill battle for the eight undrafted players they signed. Although, the nature of being an undrafted player is having the odds stacked against you. It’s worth noting, Harris, received the lowest signing bonus of any undrafted player in 2011. And because of the lockout, he only had training camp to make an impression, so, it can be done.

3) “Veteran” players show the youngters how to get it done: Calling three second-year players “Vets” may be a stretch. However, 2014 practice squad center Matt Paradis, fellow practice squad wide receiver Bennie Fowler and outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett were praised by Kubiak for their work ethic among the 36 players who participated in rookie minicamp.

“I think they’re great examples is what they are. I see guys calm down. As a matter of fact, I just told these young kids, ‘You watch Matt [Paradis] practice.’ You watch Bennie practice today,” Kubiak said. “You can just tell the difference. They know what it takes, but they also know the battle they’re in to become players. I told the guys, I said, ‘If you have any thoughts about who to watch and how to do it right, probably watch them because they’ve figured it out and that’s why they’re still here.’ The Broncos, like most teams, use rookie minicamp to let the new players begin to adjust to life as a pro. The two days are designed to make the players more comfortable with their new surroundings. So, Monday when they enter the building and go through workouts and meetings, they aren’t completely awestruck sitting next to Peyton Manning, Demarcus Ware and Von Miller.

ODDS AND ENDS

Kudos to former Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard who’s 16 Ways Foundation continues to help the Denver community, even though he plays in Tennessee now. Woodyard was joined by former Broncos teammates Chris Harris and third-year cornerback Kayvon Webster as co-hosts for his annual “Free” football camp for Denver-area youth. Despite inclement weather that forced the camp to move from Green Valley Ranch high school, to the gym at Montebello High School, over 250 kids from ages 6-14 showed up for the camp, Saturday morning.

The campers were put through various skill drills, as well as given advice on how to speak with confidence. In addition to the camps coaches, several current Broncos stopped by to lend a hand. CJ Anderson spent most of the day helping with a running back drill. Linebackers Danny Trevathan and Corey Nelson bounced from drill to drill. New Bronco safety Darian Stewart couldn’t believe the turnout despite the poor road conditions. Also in attendance were Broncos defensive lineman Sylvester Williams and linebacker Steven Johnson, who launched his own charitable foundation on Friday.

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