ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Riley Moss needed time to catch up.
After suffering a core muscle injury and undergoing a procedure early in training camp, Moss did not return to the practice field until late August. Though he was a full practice participant by the start of the regular season, he was inactive for three of the Broncos' first seven games and did not play a defensive snap until Week 11.
As he looked back on his rookie season on Monday, Moss acknowledged the challenge he faced as he tried to make up for lost practice time.
"I think a big thing this year that kind of inhibited me was that injury early on," Moss said. "I missed camp, and your rookie year camp is very important. When I got back, it was kind of learn how to be an NFL player, learn the defense and they're game-planning at the same time, so it was tough to grow as a player, but I came in every day, I was a sponge and [I] tried to pick up as much stuff as possible.
"I'm just looking forward to having a full [off]season, hopefully get a full camp, stay healthy and learn what I need to learn."
Moss, whom the Broncos traded up to select in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, said it took him until "halfway through the season" to feel like he caught up. That self-described timeline aligns with when he first started to receive defensive snaps.
"It's fast-moving," Moss said. "It's crazy. But I made sure every day to come in and grow as a player in some way, shape or form."
Though Moss ultimately played limited defensive snaps — 23 across eight games and a season-high five vs. the Raiders — he did become a key special teams contributor for the Broncos.
Entering the 2024 offseason, Moss said he has loftier goals for his second season.
"My goal still is to start at corner," Moss said. "I'm going to get it done someway, somehow. But I am going to get it done."
'I MADE MORE PLAYS THAN I THOUGHT I WOULD'
As Marvin Mims Jr. arrived in Denver, he knew his rookie season would require patience.
In a veteran-laden wide receiver room that included Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick, Mims expected his opportunities would be limited.
During his first season, Mims took full advantage of the chances he got, earning Pro Bowl honors as a return specialist and catching 22 passes for 377 yards and a touchdown. As Mims reflected on his first season on a pro, he gave himself a "B" grade for his rookie campaign.
"It was pretty good — some good things, some bad things," Mims said Monday. "At the end of the day, [the] Pro Bowl's great, but I always want more."
Mims added that he felt "way more comfortable" and contributed more at the end of the season than he did early in the year, and he said he is "ready to build on it" during the 2024 season.
As he enters the offseason, his focus will be on preparing his body to better handle the rigors of the NFL season.
"The thing I want to focus the most on is just developing my body physically," Mims said. "… Preparing for the Combine's different than preparing for an NFL season, so just be able to take all this time to prepare for the season next year. I think it will be tremendous for me."