After an offseason flush with star players finding new homes, two Broncos have earned early recognition for their ability to make a quick impact.
ESPN staff writer Jeremy Fowler ranked the top NFL debuts after two games, including free-agent signings, trade acquisitions and rookies, and Melvin Gordon III earned top billing for the Broncos at the No. 14 spot — three ahead of Week 3 opponent Tom Brady.
"With Phillip Lindsay missing time due to injury, Gordon has proved a workhorse for Denver's offense, rushing for 148 yards and one touchdown on 34 carries," Fowler wrote. "[H]e's still a high-quality back somewhere just outside of the top tier."
Guard Graham Glasgow also earned an honorable mention selection.
A couple of other Broncos should be on the national radar in this regard, I'd argue. Rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy has been a key player on offense with 118 receiving yards, which ranks third among rookie receivers so far (which should improve further as he takes on a larger role on offense).
Jurrell Casey may still be looking for his first sack, but his impact has been felt on the defensive line. Through two games, Casey has three passes defensed, 10 total tackles and one quarterback hit. Pro Football Focus also rates him as the Broncos' second-best defender behind just Justin Simmons. They credit Casey with four pressures, including three hurries, and five defensive stops.
Punter Sam Martin has also been impressive, though the bobbled snap and safety against the Steelers has partially marred what had been an excellent start. He currently ranks 14th in the NFL in yards per punt and is tied for sixth for most punts downed inside the 20-yard line.
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With Courtland Sutton on injured reserve, Tim Patrick will step into a new role as the active roster's elder statesman — and as The Denver Post's Kyle Newman writes, he's ready for it. "One of things I always tell myself is 'exceed expectations,' because everybody has expectations for you," Patrick said. "It's your job to exceed them so you can keep going up the ladder. That's something I've tried every single year, and it's working so far. I've been on this team for almost three years now, and I just want to get better and better. My expectations are 100 percent higher than what anybody has on me."
As Tom Brady prepares for a visit to Denver, 9NEWS' Mike Klis is interested in how the Broncos' young squad recalls the career of the future Hall of Famer. "Broncos rookies KJ Hamler, Jerry Jeudy, Netane Muti, Essang Bassey and Albert Okwuegbunam were 1 years old when Brady was drafted in the sixth round by the New England Patriots on April 16, 2000," Klis writes.