How does Kyle Fuller fit in Denver?
By: Steven Jay
With an official team training camp underway for the Broncos, many people are speculating about the state of the Broncos and how individual players will impact their positional group. With the focus on the long-awaited Quarterback battle between Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, this article will highlight lesser-known competitions to be aware of that will impact the team as a whole.
For several years, the offensive line for Denver has been a rotation of placeholders and aging veterans that the front office has put together to try and retain some form of stability. The emergence of Garrett Bolles as a top-tier Left Tackle and several promising young prospects on the interior, such as Guard Dalton Risner, has narrowed the last glaring hole on the offensive line to Right Tackle. After overspending on the oft-injured Ja’Wuan James, who has only managed to play a total of 3 games for the Broncos since signing in 2019, Right Tackle is still a question mark for the team. James has since left the organization after suffering yet another injury earlier in the offseason, and Denver will now turn to its young talent to fill in gaps in his absence.
Heading into camp, head coach Vic Fangio stated that “a guy not to go to sleep on is Calvin Anderson.” Playing Tackle at Rice and the University of Texas, Anderson went undrafted in the 2019 NFL draft. After bouncing around between the Patriots and Jets, Anderson came to Denver in 2019 as a backup. After earning his spot, he also managed to sign a one-year contract with the Broncos earlier this year. Still only twenty-five years old, Anderson has gained praise from the Denver coaching staff and has started on a good foot this camp with first-team reps. Outside of a veteran free agent signing with the team, Anderson may very well have the best shot at the starting job. It will be up to him to take hold of the opportunity and show the coaching staff, including renowned Offensive Line coach Mike Munchak that they are correct to place their trust in the young Tackle.
With Denver’s offseason spending and most recent draft, all eyes are on the Denver defensive secondary. Bringing in the likes of Kyle Fuller and Alabama standout Patrick Surtain II, the Broncos are poised to have a fearsome group of Defensive Backs this season. One could argue that they have too much talent to put on the field at once. One such position to watch will be the Cornerback battle between established veterans Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan and new editions Patrick Surtain II and last year’s rookie Michael Ojemudia.
While Fuller and Callahan are poised to be the starting Corners for this Bronco’s defense, the young playmakers should also be involved. This training camp will show glimpses into how the coaching staff plans to incorporate their round one draft pick in Surtain and continue to build off Ojemudia’s eventful rookie season last year. Both Fuller and Callahan played under Coach Vic Fangio when he was the Defensive Coordinator for the Chicago Bears and have a thorough understanding of the defense the Broncos currently employ. However, with Callahan and Fuller both hitting free-agency next season, one should think that the Broncos want to get both young corners as much experience as possible. The opportunities these young corners encounter this season will help the team prepare for next year if they take on a more prominent role. Be sure to watch how both young Corners are utilized throughout camp to get a better understanding of what is to come for the second unit as a whole throughout the season.
The Broncos receiving core
While one may think that the last place Denver needs to worry about is their pass-catchers, it is the sheer number of talented bodies that Denver has that makes this positional group so interesting. With the return of Courtland Sutton and the high praise of Jerry Jeudy after last season, some spots are already very well established. It is the players who will fill in behind them that make for the intriguing drama.
K.J. Hamler impressed with Denver last season despite soft-tissue injuries that hampered him throughout the 2020 season. Expect Hamler to settle into a more prominent role in the offense in his second year as a shifty playmaker. 2020 standout Receiver Tim Patrick hopes to continue to build off his solid performance in replacing Sutton last season after Sutton became sidelined with an ACL injury. The Broncos are also looking to find a replacement for Receiver Daesean Hamilton, releasing him earlier in the offseason after suffering an ACL tear. The likes of Trinity Benson, Tyrie Cleveland, and emergency Quarterback Kendall Hinton look to carve a role out themselves as an active roster Receiver this season. As training camp progresses, expect to hear young, unfamiliar names as this receiving core grows and fights for a spot in a deep positional group for the Broncos this season. Household names like Jeudy and Sutton will be highlighted as talking points daily, but the real intrigue will be who stands out among the lesser-known players. This information could give pointers into who the coaches feel deserve roster spots on the 53-man roster. On the opposite side, it may give away who needs another year developing among the practice squad.
Without bringing up the Quarterback controversy, there are still plenty of exciting positional groups to examine and talk about throughout training camp. These are not simply important to decipher but are fresh talking points compared to the constant drone of back-and-forth drama between the two quarterback fan camps. Not only are these groups just as important, I believe they will provide even more entertainment for the viewer.