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Mason's Mailbag: Quality over quantity in this year's undrafted crop

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You can tweet questions to me with the hashtag #AskMase or use the submission form to your right (if you're viewing on a standard browser) or at the bottom of the page if you're on the mobile site.*

Is Jeff Holland being looked at as an inside or outside linebacker for us? He played outside in college, but he is a bit small for a 3-4 outside guy.

-- Alfred Borstmayer

Outside linebacker. That was the position group with which he worked during on-field work at the Broncos' rookie orientation. Further, at 249 pounds, his listed weight is just one pound below that of Von Miller and Shaquil Barrett, and is greater than that of Shane Ray. In terms of size, Holland is fine for his position.

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Why have the Broncos only signed eight undrafted players when other teams have signed three times that many?**

-- Stephen Leonard

Because of a combination of factors:

  1. Only five teams had more draft picks than the Broncos, who made 10 selections.
  1. In January, they signed 13 players to future contracts, including eight who were on the practice squad at the end of the 2017 season, so the club saw enough from those players in practice to justify giving them an extended shot during OTAs and training camp.
  1. At the end of the 2017 regular season, the Broncos had 11 players on injured reserve, with most of the replacements coming from the practice squad. Seven members of the Broncos' season-ending active roster were on the practice squad at some point in the regular season. Seven of the players on injured reserve when the year ended are still with the team.

All of those moves add up to an undrafted class that isn't as robust in raw numbers, but features eight players on whom the Broncos had draftable grades. Do not be surprised if multiple undrafted players stick on the 53-man roster after training camp.

Remember, when it comes to undrafted signees, two cliches often apply:

  1. Quantity does not equal quality.
  1. Less is often more.

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Is there a chance that Phillip Lindsay could be able to make the 53-man roster as a kick or punt returner?**

-- Caleb Rabon

Yes. In fact, Head Coach Vance Joseph has already mentioned that Lindsay will be in the competition at punt returner, along with wide receivers River Cracraft, DaeSean Hamilton, Isaiah McKenzie and Jordan Taylor.

I'm a Danish national and a 12 year fan of Denver Broncos.

I'm excited about Andreas Knappe being on the team.

What's your evaluation of his potential and his chances of getting on the team after the draft?

-- Mads Henriksen

Since the Broncos did not select an offensive tackle this year, his chances of making the team were not affected by the draft. Knappe faces a tough battle to make the 53-man roster, but it would not surprise me if he manages to snag a practice-squad spot, which would allow him to continue trying to turn his raw athleticism into pro-quality technique.

Players like Knappe would benefit from the NFL being able to create a developmental league in the future. Of course, none currently exists, so he will have to do what he can with practice and preseason reps.

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The analysis, opinion and speculation in this story represents that of the author, gathered through research and reporting, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Denver Broncos organization.

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