ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — A.J. Bouye has seen his fair share of talented receivers.
He's covered plenty of the NFL's best wideouts during his career, and as a 2017 Pro Bowler, he matched up against the league's best in Orlando.
Though he wasn't in Florida alongside Bouye, Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper has been a near perennial Pro Bowler since entering the league, and Bouye now sees similarities between the four-time Pro Bowler and a new member of the Broncos' roster.
"When I watch Jerry Jeudy, he kind of reminds me a lot of Amari Cooper in Oakland with how he's running his routes, especially when guys are playing off," Bouye said Tuesday. "… The stems that he showed, leverage and how he attacks everything — he gets your feet to stop and that's when it's over. I like seeing things like that. It's just helping me game plan myself against him because you never know when other receivers are going to try and implement that."
Bouye knows Cooper well, as he faced off against him in both the 2016 regular season and the 2016 postseason.
The veteran cornerback's praise for the rookie receiver comes days after safety Kareem Jackson said Jeudy gets in and out of his breaks better than any player he's ever seen.
Both Jeudy and second-round pick KJ Hamler have left an impression on the veteran players early in training camp.
"Being in the league for a while, I've seen a lot of rookie receivers come in and it seems like they don't have it figured out," Bouye said. "You can look at those two and tell — whether it's in the offseason, coaching that they've had outside — they're real polished in routes, especially Jeudy. He never gives you the same look every time and I'm loving going against him. He's going to keep me true to my technique."
Across the offensive side of the football, young players are making an impact as the team implements a new system.
"When you're in the huddle, you'd never know that these guys are first, second, third or fourth-year players," guard Graham Glasgow said. "They all conduct themselves extremely well and I think that's something we have going for us. It doesn't really matter that they're young. They have the mentality that they're just going to go out there and produce, and that's something you can't really teach. That's more credit to them."
STARTING IN THE MIDDLE
The Broncos are in the midst of a search to find their starting center, and Glasgow believes the position depends heavily on a player's mental acumen.
"When you're a center, you're not getting a whole bunch of one-on-ones like you would if you were a guard or if you were a tackle, but you end up just as exhausted because mentally it takes toll on you," Glasgow said. "You need to make sure you're on top of your game and you spend a lot more time studying. If the center is messed up, we're all messed up. [Austin Schlottmann is] getting everybody on the same page, and so far, him and Pat [Morris] and even Cush [Lloyd Cushenberry III] — because Cush, he's a first-year player — have done a fantastic job and they've been learning the system well."
Glasgow, Head Coach Vic Fangio said, can help all three of the players competing for that center position because of his veteran knowledge.
"One of the very underrated and unappreciated things in football — and it happens across the board — is the guy that you're next to," Glasgow said. "For the O-line, it's obviously the center having the two guards next to him, the tackle having the guards next to him, the guards having the tackle next to them. Sometimes guys end up really helping somebody before the ball is snapped. It happens on defense. Inside linebackers being one of where it happens a lot, safeties where it happens a lot, D-linemen. … You can tell a difference when one guy needs that experienced guy next to him that can help him pre-snap. When that guy disappears for whatever reason, you can see a difference in one guy's play. It happens. I've called them for a long time — I've said certain players need a caddy out there on the field. Some guys do better when they've got a good caddy with them. That's just the fact, and it's for those positions we mentioned."
TOUGHER TO MAKE A STATEMENT
Bouye broke into the league as an undrafted player from Central Florida in 2013, and his preseason reps that season helped earn him a spot on the Texans' roster. Without those opportunities in 2020, Bouye admits it will be more difficult for an undrafted player to find a roster spot.
"It would definitely be harder," Bouye said. "That's one thing when I found out we had no preseason games — it's a positive for the guys who've probably made the team because they don't have to risk injury, but I look at the younger guys who've worked so hard. Even now the only way you can get evaluated is in practice and what you do on special teams and offense and defense. It's definitely harder. … No matter where you're drafted or if you're undrafted, you're always going to have that one opportunity you just have to take advantage of."