As the Broncos kick off the 2016 regular season, DenverBroncos.com will keep tabs on two of the youngest members of the team, safeties Justin Simmons and Will Parks.
Simmons, a third-round pick out of Boston College, and Will Parks, a sixth-round pick from Arizona, are two members of the eight-man draft class that made the Broncos' initial 53-man roster. The two newest members of the "No Fly Zone" lived together in the team hotel from the beginning of rookie minicamp all the way through the end of preseason, and they've formed a pretty tight bond along the way.* *
*"Rookie Diaries" will follow Simmons and Parks as they traverse their way through the season. Football will have a heavy impact on their years, but the focus will center largely on their lives away from UCHealth Training Center. As they adjust to the realities of the NFL, this is their space to talk to each other and, in their words, reflect on life in the pros. *
Sept. 4, 2016– Adjusting to life after college
Will Parks:I was ecstatic to make the team. I'm just happy to have this opportunity. It was a dream come true. Obviously we went through training camp and we grew a part of the team but now it's set in stone, at least for this year. I'm definitely blessed and grateful. I'm pretty sure he'd tell you the same thing.
Justin Simmons:We're still getting settled. It's a job now. I guess the nice thing about it is there's no more school on top of football, so it helps you focus and hone in more on your job, and the things you've got to get done before game day.
It's really different, if you're comparing it to college. The attention to detail is just hyped up that much more. In college you only have a certain block of time, but here you have all the time in the world … within that time, you have so much stuff to go over that you get over-flooded with it.
So you want to make sure that while you're here, you take advantage of the time that you have with your coaches, your other teammates and things like that.
When we were in the hotel, we were asking each other questions at like 11 p.m. at night. That's just gonna continue throughout the year.
WP: **It's crazy how fast those four years at college went. Super fast. I don't even know what I did now. I forgot what I did in four years.
JS: It's just wild looking back at it. Can't believe those four years went by.
I got to watch B.C. this weekend. We lost by three. I was up at 6 a.m., because we played in Ireland against Georgia Tech, so that's five hours behind East Coast time. So add two hours for us. … I was up at 5:30 a.m. watching, half-asleep, half-awake.
WP: We lost by two [to BYU]– but that defense looked real good. It shocked me.
It was crazy to see people going back to campus. I looked on TV during our game and they were all hyped and geeked, and I was like "Damn, I was just doing that."
It made me feel kinda old. But we're not old now, cause we're the youngest people on the team.
I was happy to see those guys go out there and play for one another. I just talked to my dad, and he said, 'Hey, man. What's the biggest thing you missed?' And I was like, 'Just being out there with them. Win or lose, just having fun out there.' Because in college it was more fun, now it's more business.
JS:There's a lot to focus on. As rookies, I know we're extra busy, because we're playing as backups. So we have to be ready as if we're starters and also we have to be on top of special teams, as well, knowing our different assignments, our different looks on different teams. And then also on top of that, knowing what's their favorite tendencies on 3rd and 10 and 3rd and 5, 1st and 15.
WP:It's gonna be lit against Carolina. That's gonna be lit out there. I can't wait to see them fans in full effect. It's gonna be crazy.