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Broncos training camp burning question: How much can the Broncos' rookie linebackers help the front seven?

By the time the 2018 NFL Draft was complete, the Broncos had picked more linebackers than they had in the previous five drafts combined.

Outside linebacker Bradley Chubb will get the bulk of the attention, of course. That comes with being the No. 5 overall pick and the consensus top defensive player in he draft class. But the additions of inside linebackers Josey Jewell and Keishawn Bierria on the draft's third day have the potential to transform the depth behind starters Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis, as well.

During offseason work, all three showed exactly what Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods hoped they would demonstrate.

"When we got with all of our rookie class we drafted, the one thing you saw on tape with those guys were all really good football players -- high football I.Q.," Woods said.

That means Woods can throw clumps of concepts at them and know they will stick. With Chubb, that means using him in myriad packages and shifting him between a stand-up alignment and a hand-in-the-dirt pass-rushing role, which in turn expands the pass-rush possibilities, as three or even four outside linebackers can be used together.

"He can play our outside linebacker position in base," Woods said. We've done some things in terms of adding some different front packages. He'll be the same type of sub[-package] rusher that Von [Miller], Shane Ray and [Shaquil] Barrett have been over the years.

"But just the versatility, the size, the power, the football I.Q., it's awesome to have a guy like that and add him to our arsenal."

What will constitute a successful season for Chubb? By the numbers, if he can notch eight sacks and force three fumbles, he will become only the 12th rookie or first-year player since 2000 to post that pair of numbers, according to

But it's possible that Chubb could dominate and not have the stat sheet reflect his efforts. That's what happened to Oakland's Khalil Mack in 2014, when he finished with four sacks, but delivered dominant work against the run and posted 40 quarterback hurries, according to Pro Football Focus, which placed him eighth among NFL edge rushers.

Production for rookies is often a product of opportunity -- which can come with quick learning of the system. In that regard, Jewell has already made an impression.

"It just took him a little while to learn the system, but he's doing well in our base defense as well as our sub packages," Woods said.

The Broncos' most experienced inside linebacker has taken notice.

"I like Josey. He's a smart, smart kid. He's intense. He's a hard worker, a blue-collar worker," Brandon Marshall said during offseason work. "You see him out there going full-speed all the time. He knows what he's doing already.

Marshall feels the same way about Bierria, a sixth-round pick who will grapple with veterans such as Zaire Anderson, Joe Jones and Jerrol Garcia-Williams for a roster spot.

"He's going to be good as well. He just has to stay the course and keep working," Marshall said.

The same could be said of undrafted rookie outside linebacker Jeff Holland, who should get plenty of opportunities while Ray sits out training camp to recover from wrist surgery.

"We record all of the positive [plays] that guys make, and right now he's blowing people away," Woods said. "He had a big day at the end of [the last week of OTAs], but right now he's leading the charge. We just need to see what he does in training camp and in the preseason."

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