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Mile High Morning: A Broncos rookie roundup after Week 3


The Lead

As injuries pile up, the Broncos will continue to look to their rookies and add to their workload. That was certainly the case on Sunday, as several of the team's draft picks — and one undrafted rookie — played significant snaps.

Here's an overview of how the rookies did on Sunday against the Buccaneers, sorted by draft position:

Jerry Jeudy: 46 offensive snaps

The Broncos' first-round pick brought in five catches for 55 yards in his third NFL game, setting new career marks in receptions and targets (nine). Pro Football Focus graded Jeudy out as the Broncos' top performing wideout with zero drops and 22 yards after the catch, which also led Denver's receiving corps. Jeudy played 73 percent of the Broncos' 63 offensive snaps, but perhaps that number will rise as he returns to full health; he was listed as questionable for the Week 3 game with a ribs injury he suffered in Week 2.

KJ Hamler: 58 offensive snaps

In his first career start, Hamler actually played the most offensive snaps of any Broncos receiver on Sunday with 92 percent. He caught three passes for 30 yards, but couldn't find much room to run, as he totaled just 5 yards after the catch, according to Pro Football Focus. He also ran the ball once, but was tackled for a loss of 2 yards.

Michael Ojemudia: 66 defensive snaps

Against a Tom Brady-led offense, Ojemudia held up well in his third game. He played all but two defensive snaps, and in that time, he showed his skills as a physical defender. He made four total tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage. PFF graded him as the seventh-best Broncos defender who played at least 30 snaps, and they said he allowed just a passer rating of 47.9 when he was targeted.

Lloyd Cushenberry III: 63 offensive snaps

For a third straight game, Cushenberry played every single offensive snap for the Broncos and recovered a fumble on Denver's final drive. But, once again, the offensive line struggled in pass protection. A week after the unit allowed seven sacks in Pittsburgh, it gave up six on Sunday.

McTelvin Agim: 14 total snaps

Agim didn't play much in his first NFL game — nine defensive snaps and five on special teams — but you can expect that number to increase in the weeks to come after the Broncos lost Jurrell Casey for the season to a biceps injury.

Tyrie Cleveland: 16 total snaps

After missing the Broncos' Week 2 game while battling a hip injury, Cleveland was active for a second time. He played 12 of his 16 snaps on special teams and did not record any stats.

Essang Bassey: 44 total snaps

Bassey played fewer snaps than in each of the first two games, but it's possible that's just because the Buccaneers ran more two-tight-end sets with Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard, as opposed to formations with three wideouts, which would more likely put Bassey on the field. The rookie cornerback had his share of struggles, too. Bassey appeared to be out of position on the Bucs' first touchdown, as Brady found Chris Godwin with room to run just yards from the goal line.

Below the Fold

In Ryan O’Halloran’s closer review of the Broncos’ 28-10 loss for The Denver Post, he broke down the game in a number of facets. One of those pieces was an analysis of Ojemudia's "uneventful" day, as O'Halloran puts it. "Tampa Bay, though, didn't prioritize challenging Ojemudia — three times (1-of-3 for 11 yards)," O'Halloran writes. "Brady completed 15 passes to his running backs and tight ends, meaning a busy day for Johnson (Brady was 2-of-5 for 18 yards against him) and inside linebacker Josey Jewell (3-of-4 for 49 yards)."

As mentioned before, the Broncos added two more players to injured reserve on Monday. Five-time Pro Bowler Jurrell Casey's season is through after suffering a biceps injury, and recently acquired linebacker Austin Calitro is out least out three weeks with a hamstring injury.

The Unclassifieds

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