Shark Bites for Denver Broncos 2020 | Shark Bites | Draft Sharks

Shark Bites

ESPN's Jeff Legwold says "the Broncos will likely split the work in the running game 50-50" between Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay. Legwold adds that Gordon "has been more active" as a receiver than Lindsay. We agree that Gordon looks like the much better bet for passing-game work. HC Vic Fangio has lauded the veteran as a 3-down back, while Lindsay has yet to impress as either a receiver or pass blocker. (He has especially struggled in protection.) We certainly also expect a fair amount of rushing work for Lindsay -- but we'd also be pretty surprised if he and Gordon truly split carries evenly. Denver gave Gordon $13.5 million guaranteed on a 2-year contract after Lindsay led the team in rushing each of the past 2 seasons. OC Pat Shurmur's history has also favored a lead RB.

Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy has been 1 of the players QB Drew Lock has been throwing to daily at Denver-area field recently, insider Mike Klis reports. This would be a non-story in a normal year, but these types of workouts have taken on increased importance with the COVID-impacted offseason. That's especially true for a rookie WR and a 2nd-year QB. Jeudy has a clear path to join WR Courtland Sutton atop Denver's depth chart this year.

The Broncos selected Missouri TE Albert Okwuegbunam in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Albert O brings a freaky combination of size and speed. The 6’5, 258-pounder blazed a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. His 127.0 Speed Score is 3rd best among all TEs since 2000 — notably ahead of guys like Evan Engram, O.J. Howard and Noah Fant. Okwuegbunam disappointed with a 23-306-6 line without QB Drew Lock last year. But he tallied 415 yards and a 11 scores as a true freshman in 2017 and then caught 43 balls for 466 yards and 6 scores in 2018. Okwuegbunam missed 5 games over the last 2 seasons with shoulder injuries and looks a bit straight-linish on tape. But that size-speed combo makes him an intriguing fantasy prospect. He reunites with Lock in Denver and, alongside Noah Fant, gives the Broncos the fastest TE duo in the league.

The Broncos added Penn State WR K.J. Hamler in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He joins 1st-rounder Jerry Jeudy in Denver. A hamstring injury prevented Hamler from running at the Combine. But if he had, he might have challenged Henry Ruggs for the fastest man in Indy. He’s a blur on tape and is also lightning quick in and out of his breaks. A 2016 torn ACL cost him his final high school season and had him redshirted for his 1st year at Penn State. But Hamler led the Nittany Lions with 42 catches and 754 yards as a redshirt freshman in 2018. Then he posted a 56-904-8 line this past year, accounting for 26% of the team’s receptions, 31% of the receiving yards and 32% of the receiving TDs. Not turning 21 until July, Hamler is 1 of the youngest WR prospects in this year’s class. The big concern is his size: 5’11 and 178 pounds with 17th percentile arm length. Only 3 sub-180-pound WRs — DeSean Jackson, John Brown and Jamison Crowder — have posted multiple 800+ yard seasons over the past 10 years.

The Broncos selected Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy with the 15th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. We learned on Wednesday that Jeudy had surgery in the spring of 2018 to repair a torn meniscus. He didn’t miss a single game over the past 2 seasons, but some teams are reportedly concerned about arthritis developing down the road. The Broncos apparently aren’t one of those teams. A route-running savant, Jeudy has drawn comparisons ranging from Keenan Allen to Stefon Diggs to Odell Beckham. He broke out in 2018, leading a loaded ‘Bama squad with 68 catches, 1,315 yards and 14 TDs and becoming just the 8th WR to win the Biletnikoff Award as a freshman or sophomore. Jeudy’s numbers took a slight step back this past year, but he still finished inside the top 25 in receptions, receiving yards and TDs. His 3.3 yards per route run ranked 4th among 30 of this year’s top WR prospects. Jeudy is on the smallish side at 6’1 and 193 pounds, tested as just a 22nd percentile athlete and didn’t show much in contested situations in college. But none of that stopped him from producing at Alabama — and we’re not expecting those things to be problems in the NFL. He should immediately slide into Denver’s starting lineup alongside WR Courtland Sutton and has a chance to be a big 2020 fantasy factor.

The Broncos have signed RB Melvin Gordon to a 2-year, $16 million deal with $13.5 million guaranteed. He turned down a better offer from another team because he wanted to stay in the same division as the Chargers, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. It was still a seemingly soft market for Gordon, who now checks in as league's 8th highest paid RB in average annual salary. He's a sizable favorite for lead duties in Denver but will share at least some with Phillip Lindsay and/or Royce Freeman. Gordon won't get the same volume he did with the Chargers. Look for him to settle into RB2 territory when our rankings hit the site later this spring.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Titans are trading DE Jurrell Casey to the Broncos for a mere 7th-round pick. This is clearly a case of Tennessee dumping salary. Casey still has 3 years left on his contract, with cap numbers of about $11.8 million, $12.3 million and $13.85 million. Casey remains a productive player heading into just his age-30 season and should start for the Broncos in 2020. We'll see how Denver handles the remaining 2 cuttable years on his deal beyond that.

The Broncos have placed the franchise tag on S Justin Simmons. Barring a trade, he'll remain in the role that has made Simmons a nice IDP contributor the past 2 years.

Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay recently underwent surgery on his right wrist, according to The Denver Post's Mike Klis. It was reportedly a "simple, clean-up arthroscopic procedure" on the same wrist that Lindsay had surgery on last year. He told the team that it caused him some discomfort throughout the 2019 campaign. Lindsay was sidelined until training camp last year but is expected to be ready for the start of OTAs this spring. We'll keep an eye on him.

The Broncos have fired OC Rich Scangarello after 1 year on the job and replaced him with Pat Shurmur. Shurmur has struggled as a HC but had some strong seasons as an OC with the Eagles and Vikings. He's a pass-leaning play-caller, with 9 of his 11 teams ranking higher in pass attempts than rush attempts. Shurmur's top priority in Denver will be maximizing QB Drew Lock's skill set.

2:12pm EST 12/22/19

Broncos TE Noah Fant (shoulder) is active for today’s game against the Lions. The shoulder issue adds risk, but Fant boasts plenty of upside vs. a Detroit defense sitting 26th in Football Outsiders' TE coverage rankings.

Broncos TE Noah Fant (shoulder) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Lions. He returned to play through this injury last week, so we're expecting him to play. The shoulder issue adds more risk to a guy who's already been a volatile producer. But Fant boasts plenty of upside vs. a Detroit defense sitting 26th in Football Outsiders' TE coverage rankings.

Broncos TE Noah Fant suffered a shoulder injury in the 2nd quarter of Sunday's game in Kansas City and is officially questionable to return. The rookie came into this one with foot and hip injuries. We'll update his status when we learn more.

Update: Fant returned for the 2nd half.

11:12am EST 12/15/19

Broncos TE Noah Fant (hip, foot) is active for today’s game against the Chiefs. The injuries add more risk to a guy who’s already been a boom/bust fantasy play. Fant has games of 3-115-1 and 4-113-1 among his last 5 but has totaled just 8 catches for 79 scoreless yards in the other 3.

Broncos TE Noah Fant is "looking good to play today" against the Chiefs, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Fant is officially questionable with hip and foot injuries. Even an active Fant is risky, though. He's still sharing targets with several other TEs. Keep that in mind -- and not just his big production at Houston -- as you set your Week 15 lineup.

Broncos TE Noah Fant (hip, foot) is listed as questionable for this weekend's game against the Chiefs. He got in limited practices on Thursday and Friday. We'll get the rookie's official status by noon ET on Sunday. If active, he'll be a risk/reward fantasy play. Fant has games of 3-115-1 and 4-113-1 among his last 5 but has totaled just 8 catches for 79 scoreless yards in the other 3.

Broncos TE Noah Fant (foot) returned to a limited practice on Thursday. That gives him a shot to play against the Chiefs this weekend. We'll see what Fant does on Friday and then how Denver lists him on the final injury report.

Broncos TE Noah Fant (foot) didn't practice on Wednesday. HC Vic Fangio said the rookie's status is "positive overall" but wouldn't guarantee that he'll play against the Chiefs this weekend. We'll get another update on Fant tomorrow.

Broncos TE Noah Fant suffered a foot injury in the 2nd half of Sunday's game against the Texans and is officially questionable to return. We'll pass along an update when we get one.

Broncos OLB Von Miller (knee) is active for today's game against the Texans. It's an upside sack matchup for the pass rusher, though there's also still risk to Miller's injury situation. Fellow OLB Malik Reed (ankle) is inactive for the game.


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