ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** In the era of pass-heavy offense, it seems you can never have too many talented cornerbacks. And when they can contribute to the team in more than one phase, all the better.
Brendan Langley fits that mold, though he still to develop.
The senior arrived at Lamar after a year at the University of Georgia as the 22nd-overall cornerback prospect in the country. Once at Lamar, he was a playmaker on defense with six interceptions, including three in one game against Southeastern Louisiana. His ball skills made him a versatile player in college. At Lamar and Georgia, Langley played receiver on occasion.
With the 101st pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Broncos select CB Brendan Langley, Lamar. (Photos by AP)
But it's his punt-return skills that should earn him a spot on the Broncos roster. Making the roster through training camp and then earning a game-day jersey as a rookie in one of the NFL's deepest defensive backfields requires exception skill and the ability to help on special teams.
"Brendan's really raw, but he's got great speed and it takes some time, but he'll learn from the best corners in the league that we have here," said John Elway, Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager. "I'm really excited about it, and [Langley and third-round pick WR Carlos Henderson] are tremendous special-teams guys. I feel real good about how it fell today."
Langley's 4.43-second time in the 40-yard dash at the Combine helped him record 11.7 yards per punt return in his senior season at Lamar. That ranked 12th in the country, per Lamar.
But the Broncos didn't just target him to be a punt returner. Though Elway said Langley is raw, he added that he was still the top player on their board.
"We liked him a lot when he was in here," Elway said. "We like his mentality. He wants to be great, he's a competitor, he's got that edge to him. He does have a ways to go. He started out as a wide receiver, I think, and then came to corner. He's got some good instincts at corner, but it's going to take him some time. In the meantime, he's a returner. He's fast, physical and can play on special teams, too. That came into the equation also, because he was effective on special teams and also a good punt returner."
Langley may have room to grow as a cornerback, but his skills as a returner may allow him to contribute to the team while honing his skills in the "No-Fly Zone."