The Denver Broncos began their rookie minicamp on Friday with a total of 27 new players taking the field at Dove Valley.
The rookies went through team meetings and a brief walkthrough, and head coach Vic Fangio, Pat Surtain II and Javonte Williams all spoke with the media before taking the field.
Here are some takeaways from the first day of rookie minicamp:
The Broncos signed 11 college free agents
Early Friday morning it was reported by Broncos lead writer Aric DiLalla that the team officially signed 11 college free agents to their roster.
The Broncos drafted seven defensive players and three offensive players in the 2021 draft, but seven of the Broncos’ 11 college free agent signings were offensive.
One of the 11 undrafted free agents is likely to make the team, as Denver has had an undrafted rookie make its initial 53-man roster in 16 of the last 17 seasons.
A player to watch could be outside linebacker Andre Mintze from Vanderbilt, who Fangio said “impressed” the coaches.
“We were happy to get him as a free agent,” Fangio said. “Being an undrafted free agent isn’t a terrible thing. This guy’s got talent and he’s got ability. We’re happy to give him an opportunity.”
Baron Browning to start at inside linebacker
In a press conference with the media, Fangio said he wants to keep Baron Browning at inside linebacker because of his versatility.
The Broncos drafted the Ohio State defender in the third round of the NFL draft last month. After the draft Fangio said the team expects Browning to be a “major contributor” on special teams right away and will compete for one of the linebacker spots.
Alexander Johnson and Josey Jewell will be the ones to face competition from Browning.
“It’s always different gymnastics every time you undertake a linebacker that has some versatility,” Fangio said. “We are going to leave him at inside linebacker here for a good bit, see how he does and go from there.”
Pat Surtain will “always” have a chip on his shoulder
The Broncos ninth overall pick in the 2021 draft was asked if he will have a chip on his shoulder after Jaycee Horn was drafted ahead of him, and Surtain certainly answered.
“I’m always going to stay firm that I am the best cornerback in this class. I’ll always have a chip on my shoulder no matter what, Surtain said. “Going into the league as a rookie, you always have to have a chip on your shoulder no matter what. You have to go out and prove yourself again. I still have the same chip on my shoulder as I did coming in as a freshman in high school and as a freshman in college. It’ll always be that same chip on my shoulder.”
Surtain was also asked about the playbook and the rookie said it was not that much different than Alabama except for the terminology, but he’s getting the hang of it.
“We had different terms in college than what we have here right now,” Surtain said. “I’m getting the hang of it and working every day to perfect the playbook. It’s nothing too complex because I’m used to it. It’s just different terminology, really.”
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