INDIANAPOLIS -- Much of Head Coach John Fox's combine press conference was spent discussing the youth on the Broncos roster.
"I think we have some young players that need to graduate into more playing time," he said.
Below are his thoughts on what he saw last season -- and what he hopes to see going forward -- from some of the team's youngest players.
On Ronnie Hillman:
"I think Ronnie is a very talented player. He had a great rookie season. He is very explosive. Like any first-year player, you have a lot of room for improvement. I thought he finished the season very strong. We had to lean on him a little bit more. In the playoff game against Baltimore he had one of his better outings. He's capable. We'll see. I think it takes time to grow into the NFL game. These guys coming out of college call it developing a pro body, and with a full offseason, our strength and conditioning people do a great job. It's all-year-round training. We're anticipating that he'll be much improved and be able to play more extended time."
On Derek Wolfe:
"I think our draft class did fantastic. Derek, he probably played as much as any rookie in the league, I know on defense. Our defense is a little unique – without getting into too many technicalities – but he plays a spot that is very important against the run. It's probably not as advantageous to rush the passer from the position he's at. I thought he had a superb year and he's going to be a great young player moving forward."
"I think Derek had a terrific rookie season. He's a very mature, hard-working guy that's going to do anything and everything to be the best player he can be. I think you'll see big improvement, and he had a heck of a rookie year."
On the team's young safeties:
"Well, Quinton (Carter) unfortunately got injured and had knee surgery. His rehab has gone fantastic. Our medical people – Greek (Head Athletic Trainer Steve Antonopulos) and the docs – do a great job. I just saw him actually before we left to come over here. His rehab is going great. I thought he had a good rookie year. Last year he was on the shelf, but we look forward to getting him back. I think Rahim (Moore) probably might have been one of our most improved players from year one to year two. He made great improvement. I think we'll challenge guys to be even better this year. We anticipate both of them to come back even better."
On Nate Irving competing to start at middle linebacker
"A lot of it will depend on Nate. He's definitely capable. He'll be given an opportunity. I think we have some young players that need to graduate into more playing time and I feel confident that he'll do that."