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Mile High Morning: Brandon Johnson off to hot start in second season


The Lead

Four weeks into the Broncos' season, much attention has been paid to the young talent that's been on display. Wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. has been an extraordinary and explosive threat on deep passes and in the return game, running back Jaleel McLaughlin has provided a spark on the ground. Outside linebacker Nik Bonitto has also made a significant leap in his second season.

And yet there's perhaps another young player flying under the radar for Denver: wide receiver Brandon Johnson.

Johnson, who joined the Broncos in 2022 as a college free agent, missed much of his rookie season with an injury before returning to the team midway through the year. Now healthy, Johnson has been a valuable reserve at wideout behind Mims and starters Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton.

Through the team's first four games, Johnson is tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with three, and he's totaled 113 yards on seven receptions. Five of those seven catches have moved the chains for Denver, too.

Those statistics are a testament to Johnson's hard work and a chemistry that he and quarterback Russell Wilson have built. During Johnson's rookie season, he and Wilson talked through plays at the Broncos' indoor practice facility and reviewed route concepts, Wilson said Wednesday.

"I just thought he was a pro from Day 1," Wilson said. "… I think the thing about Brandon is he's got amazing hands. He's got amazing feel for the game. He's got great route ability. He's got great timing, too, especially in the passing game. He just understands everything. He can block extremely well, he's physical.

"But there's two great things about Brandon that I think you guys really need to know. Number one, he's one of the smartest guys I've been around. He really understands the game. He has that quarterback mind. I think the second thing about him is he's always ready. He's always prepared. I think he's always prepared to do extra work, he's always prepared to be here early, he's always prepared to stay late, he's always prepared to get extra catches, whatever it may be."

As the Broncos turn their focus to a Week 5 game against the Jets, Wilson, Johnson and the rest of the offense will have to face a talented group of defenders led by All-Pro cornerback Sauce Gardner.

"They're great on the back end, great up front, great 'backers," Johnson said. "It's just an all-around good defense, so it's a great challenge I look forward to, just because it'll definitely test if we're on our P's and Q's. It'll definitely be a great test."

The Unclassifieds

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