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Broncos announce college free-agent signings

Posted May 13, 2017

The Broncos added 17 college free agents.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Seventeen college free agents will join the eight Broncos draft picks at the team's rookie orientation.

Here's a quick look at the undrafted players who will compete for roster spots this spring and summer:

OL Erik Austell, Charleston Southern: A second-team FCS All-America selection, the 6-foot-3, 301-pound Austell went undrafted despite appearing in the East-West Shrine Game in January and earning a Scouting Combine invitation. Austell worked at left tackle for most of his college career, but his size and arm length (32 inches) could ensure that his NFL future lies at one of the interior spots. In March, Austell became the first Charleston Southern player to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine; he notched 24 bench-press repetitions and a 40-yard-dash time of 5.21 seconds. Austell will wear jersey No. 63.

LB Josh Banderas, Nebraska: The 6-foot-3, 240-pound linebacker led the Cornhuskers with 93 total tackles last year, and finished second on the team with eight tackles for loss. A leg injury kept Banderas from working out at his Pro Day, but he expects to be back up to speed for offseason work with the Broncos. A college teammate of Zaire Anderson, Banderas will wear jersey No. 47.

S Dante Barnett, Kansas State: A aggressive thumper agains the run, Barnett racked up 248 total tackles during five seasons with the Wildcats, including an injury-shortened 2015 campaign that led him to take a medical redshirt. A converted wide receiver, Barnett intercepted eight passes at K-State, including a career-best four during his sophomore season (2013). Barnett will wear jersey No. 2.

S Jamal Carter, Miami (Fla.): After seeing spot duty in the 2013-15 seasons, Carter finally broke through to become a full-time starter last fall. The 6-foot-1, 218-pound Carter racked up 6.54 tackles per game in 2016, placing him ninth among now-rookie safeties. At the Combine, Carter ran the 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds and ranked third among all safeties with 19 bench-press repetitions. Carter will wear jersey No. 20.

DE/OLB Ken Ekanem, Virginia Tech: A productive pass rusher, Ekanem notched 21.5 sacks and 34 tackles for loss during his three seasons as a starter for the Hokies. He was also credited with 36 quarterback hurries during his career. Ekanem posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.76 seconds at his Pro Day -- 0.12 seconds faster than his Combine time. He will wear jersey No. 66.

LB Jerrol Garcia-Williams, Hawai'i: Despite dealing with injuries throughout his career, Garcia-Williams started 25 games, notching 223 total tackles, including 12.5 for loss, and 1.5 sacks. Garcia-Williams worked at strong-side and inside linebacker for the Rainbow Warriors and will wear jersey No. 41.

LB Deon Hollins, UCLA: Hollins worked at defensive end last season, but at 234 pounds, he should settle in as a linebacker at the next level. He did not start last year, but he was a starter in the 2014 and 2015 seasons, posting 14.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks in those years. Hollins will wear jersey No. 69.

OT Cameron Hunt, Oregon: Most of Hunt's work came at right guard; he started 41 games there during his four seasons with the Ducks. But he also started at right tackle and saw practice time at center during his career. Hunt posted a 40-yard dash time of 5.47 seconds and notched 24 repetitions on the bench press during his Pro Day workout on March 16. He will wear jersey No. 78.

NT Tyrique Jarrett, Pittsburgh: An honorable-mention All-ACC selection last year, the 6-foot-3, 335-pound Jarrett posted 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks over the last two seasons, during which he started 18 games for the Panthers. Jarrett will wear jersey No. 98.

WR Anthony Nash, Duke: The 6-foot-4 Nash had a strong Pro Day workout, posting a 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds. He weighed in at 211 pounds -- 11 pounds over his listed college weight. Nash posted 920 yards and three touchdowns on 66 career receptions. Those numbers would have certainly been higher if he had not suffered a season-ending collarbone injury in Duke's seventh game last season. Nash will wear jersey No. 3.

CB Dontrell Nelson, Memphis: The 6-foot-1, 180-pound cornerback started 12 games in the last two seasons, during which he posted 69 total tackles, including two for losses, and four interceptions. He posted another interception as a sophomore in 2014, returning it 58 yards for a touchdown. A product of Olive Branch, Mississippi, Nelson will wear jersey No. 46.

CB Marcus Rios, UCLA: The 5-foot-11, 192-pounder was an honorable-mention All-Pac 12 selection as a junior in 2015, and he contributed in the secondary and on special teams throughout his time with the Bruins. Rios notched 84 total tackles, including 2.5 for loss, and two interceptions during his career. Rios posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.49 seconds at UCLA's Pro Day in March. He will wear jersey No. 38.

QB Kyle Sloter, Northern Colorado: A converted wide receiver, the strong-armed Sloter shifted to quarterback after transferring from Southern Mississippi. He flourished last year, completing 197 of 318 passes for 2,665 yards and 29 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He also ran for three touchdowns. With seventh-round pick Chad Kelly recovering from a wrist injury, Sloter is expected to see plenty of work during OTAs. He will wear jersey No. 1.

DL Shakir Soto, Pittsburgh: The 6-foot-3, 290-pound lineman moved from defensive end to defensive tackle in Pitt's 4-3 scheme last year. He finished the 2016 season with 46 tackles, including 10 for loss, and 4.5 sacks -- all of which were career highs. Soto will wear jersey No. 67.

DB Orion Stewart, Baylor: The 6-foot, 203-pound Stewart was a first-team All-Big 12 selection last year after posting 76 tackles. His six interceptions last year were more than all but two drafted safeties (Indianapolis' Malik Hooker and Seattle's Tedric Thompson). Stewart ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds at Baylor's Pro Day last month, according to NFL.com. He also posted a 37.5-inch vertical jump, a 4.11-second short shuttle and a 7.05-second three-cone drill. Stewart will wear jersey No. 36.

S Dymonte Thomas, Michigan: Thomas broke through in his first full season as a starter last year, breaking up 10 passes and notching 70 tackles. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder also has experience at cornerback, which he played early in his career in sub packages before he became a starting safety. A heavy hitter against the run, Thomas will wear jersey No. 35.

OL Elijah Wilkinson, Massachusetts: The 6-foot-4, 331-pounder showed his skills at one of the NFL's regional combines, taking part in the March 4 session held at the Vikings' training facility in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Wilkinson broke into the Minutemen's starting lineup as a sophomore in 2014 at right tackle and remained there for the rest o this career. A product of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, Wilkinson will wear jersey No. 68.