MOBILE, Ala. — A year after Dalton Risner made headlines for introducing himself to John Elway at the Senior Bowl, another Broncos fan has arrived in Mobile.
Wyoming linebacker Logan Wilson grew up a Broncos fan, and the Casper native attended a pair of games in Denver during his childhood. On one occasion, he saw his favorite player, Champ Bailey, face off against Chad Johnson.
But when he takes the field this week at the Senior Bowl, Wilson won't be paying much attention to where John Elway is on the sideline or in stands.
"It just comes down to that I've still got to do my thing," Wilson said Tuesday. "You can't get too caught up in all the guys that are going to be here to watch you. You've just got to relax and focus. You're here to play football. I just need to be able to showcase my ability."
Wilson has plenty of it. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound player was a finalist for the 2019 Butkus Award, which is given to the best linebacker in college football. He was the only finalist who wasn't from a Power-5 school.
Wilson also earned second-team All-American honors from USA Today and was a first-team All-Mountain West choice after his senior season.
"[I'm a] tough, hard-nosed, physical linebacker that prides himself on effort," Wilson said. "One of the things that I'm a firm believer in is effort is something coaches shouldn't have to coach. Effort can also erase mistakes throughout the course of a game. For example, if a linebacker misses a fit, but the [defensive] end is sprinting down the field, he might make a tackle for 5 yards compared to a 15-yard gain. Just little things like that throughout the course of the game can be the difference between a win and a loss."
Wilson, a three-time team captain, could fit the mold of the players the Broncos have selected over the last two drafts. Elway and Co. have seemingly favored seasoned players with a history of leadership.
"Of all the accomplishments that I had at Wyoming, that was my favorite one by far," Wilson said of being a captain. "I definitely put that one on a pedestal. I think my teammates viewed me as a leader, because I really tried to do the little things the right way consistently."
Wilson said he's "very comfortable" in pass coverage after playing safety and cornerback in high school. Wyoming, though, played mostly zone coverage, so he'll aim to show scouts in Mobile that he can cover in man-to-man defenses.
"It's just something I didn't do a whole lot of at Wyoming," Wilson said. "It's not my fault, it's just our defensive scheme. It's not that I can't do it, I just need to showcase that I can."
On their way to play for the Broncos, many current and former NFL players competed in the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl to bolster their draft stock and get some more experience before entering the NFL.
BUFFS AT THE SENIOR BOWL
University of Colorado quarterback Steven Montez and linebacker Davion Taylor are the only two players to attend college in Colorado who are at this week's Senior Bowl.
And both players want to make they represent Colorado and head coach Mel Tucker to the best of their ability.
"It's an incredible honor to be able to represent my college in a game like this," Montez said Tuesday. "For me and Davion, we both bleed black and gold, so we just want to perform the best we can so maybe some recruit down the line sees it and wants to be the next Buff to come to the Senior Bowl. That's what we're doing here outside of trying to get picked up as an NFL team."
Taylor said both he and Montez are supporting each other through the week, which will culmintate in Saturday's game. Both players are on the South team for the Senior Bowl, so while they may take reps against each other in practice, they won't see each other during the game.
"I wish the best for him, and I know he wishes the best for me," Taylor said. "We just want to put on for the state of Colorado and continue to put on for Coach Tucker's legacy and show what he brought to the school and what the future holds."
Montez, who joins Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts on the Bengals-coached South team, will try to elevate his stock. He's currently Mel Kiper Jr.'s 10th-ranked quarterback in the class.
"My arm strength and my athletic ability are two of the things that I really want to put a spotlight on this week," Montez said Tuesday. "I think teams are going to be very surprised at my athletic ability for me being 6-4, 240 right now. … I still feel like I'm moving very well, and I still feel like my arm is going to be a very big point of emphasis at this stage in the draft process."
AN OPTION AT WIDE RECEIVER?
If the Broncos choose to add a wide receiver in the draft, could USC's Michael Pittman Jr. be an option?
"I could be a big-play guy for them, one that's not afraid to go across the middle or go up for balls or block 'backers," Pittman said Tuesday. "I can do all of that."
The Southern California product broke out as a senior as he caught 101 passes for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Trojans. He shattered his previous season highs of 41 catches and 758 yards.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound player tallied those numbers despite playing with three different starting quarterbacks in 2019.
"I would characterize my game as I'm like a blue-collar, smashmouth-type player," Pittman said. "I like to get dirty. I think that's the best thing about my game."