ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** Whether the Broncos have found their answers at kick and punt returner is still yet to be determined, but Special Teams Coordinator Brock Olivo believes the team's draft picks have given him more talent to make his group more explosive.
With the addition of wide receivers Carlos Henderson and Isaiah McKenzie, the Broncos brought in plenty of speed and experience. As best as Olivo can gather through two days of OTAs and one day of rookie orientation on May 14, the rookies' potential has rung true.
"I've got to say that [Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager] John [Elway] and [Director of Player Personnel] Matt [Russell] and all the guys did an awesome job in the draft, and we're fired up because we've got some return potential," Olivo said. "So, yes, needless to say, we were all smiles after draft day."
It begins with Henderson, the Broncos' third-round pick at 82nd overall, who showed extensive production as a kick returner at Louisiana Tech.
"He's got juice, man, and he's a linear speed guy, whereas Isaiah is more of a sort of a shifty guy, a COD [change of direction] guy," Olivo said. "Carlos is your downhill, run-behind-your-pads, run-through-smoke [guy] — as we say for kickoff returners. He's got courage. That's the type of kid we like as a kick returner. So, very, very excited about Carlos, as well. He runs angry with the ball in his hand, and we love that."
But as coaches love to say, the more you can do, the better your chances are to play, and Olivo has plans for Henderson beyond kick returns.
The Broncos are back! The team returned to UCHealth Training Center for the beginning of offseason team activities. (photos by Gabriel Christus)
"And he's a kid who we think we can line up at gunner, too, on punt and probably outside and jam gunners," Olivo added. "He's got a lot of qualities. He's got a high ceiling, to put it that way."
Then there's McKenzie, whose special-teams experience is more versed in punt returns. He also has Olivo's attention with his speed, agility and vision.
"Isaiah, I think, so far, is as advertised," Olivo said. "He's had an auspicious start. He's quick, he's fast, he's got great hands. He seems to be smart, has a good football acumen. So we're fired up about him so far."
Along with veterans Cody Latimer and Kalif Raymond in competition for those spots, the rookies have Brock Olivo eager to see who emerges as a new difference-maker for the Broncos.