The Broncos held their first (closed) scrimmage of Spring Ball yesterday before heading off to Lake Havasu. Here's where they left us.
Bronco safety Dillon Lukehart is with the team this Spring...but only in an advisory capacity as he's decided to "medically retire" from the squad after one too many injuries. Lukehart had been a versatile role player for the Broncos during his tenure here and earned a pair of Special Teams Player of the Year awards, but failed to appear in a handful of games last year for reasons that were not disclosed. Now, it appears that Lukehart was pretty banged up and the severity of last season's injury or an offseason re-injury have forced him to hang up his cleats early.
This is a bummer for a host of reasons, but from a competitive standpoint it really stings...at least in the short-term. The Broncos are rolling with just 3 scholarship safeties right now—Chanceller James, Dylan Sumner-Gardner, and Darian Thompson—but just two of those three are healthy. The Broncos have two walk-ons available to them at the moment—converted RB Skyler Seibold and Brandon Brown—and will add 3 more this summer (Damion Wright, Evan Tyler, and Darreon Jackson), but you can see that the margin-for-error is slim at the moment. Lukehart's presence would have bolstered the Spring depth in a big way. It's now clear why the Broncos made a run on safeties in this year's recruiting class.
Frazier, Richardson impress
Y'know something I like about Bryan Harsin...he answers questions. Asked by assembled media who's been standing out so far this Spring, Harsin opted not to go with the "they're all competing" or "we're seeing some good things from several guys" or "HIGH level" screeds of his predecessor (who I still love by the way), but rather was direct with his response—go figure. The names he threw out were DE Jabril Frazier (who's packed on some serious poundage, BTW) and RS Freshman receiver AJ Richardson. Another deep receiving threat would be helpful this Fall and thinking of another terrifying rush end to compliment Kamalei Correa brings gladness to my heart.
Equal opportunity signal-callers
The Broncos likely won't make their starting QB decision till well into Fall Camp, so it makes sense that all signal-callers are getting a nice, long audition this Spring. Coach Harsin made it clear in yesterday's interview session that no true pecking order has been established.
"Nobody was really head and shoulders above," Harsin said. "They all got an equal amount of reps so we can put that on tape and get an idea how they perform in game situations."
Seems pretty straightforward...but upon closer inspection, I noticed something rather telling about Harsin's choice of words. Check it out:
"Nobody was really head and shoulders above," Harsin said. "They all got an equal amount of Reps so we can put that on tape and get an idea how theY Perform In gamE situatioNs."
This simply cannot be a coincidence.
This one STILL going to eleven
We speculated that the Broncos might be hoisting the hallowed Kellen Moore jersey to the rafters (or at least Albertsons Stadium's next best thing) after a trail of bread crumbs last week. Harsin would neither confirm nor deny such rumors, but it's clear Kellen Moore-centric activity is taking place on April 11th, so you should probably be there.
"I really don’t have the exact answer on retiring numbers," Harsin said. "Recognizing numbers, recognizing people, for what they did – recognizing somebody that’s done something that nobody else has ever done, I’m all about that. And Kellen’s definitely one of those guys that have done that."
Pro Day production
Boise State held their Pro Day on Wednesday—a chance for NFL scouts to come in and get a first look at players that weren't invited to the combine or a second look at the one guy that was (Jay Ajayi). Overall, it seems the NFL hopefuls had a good showing...among the highlights:
Grant Hedrick is fast (4.63 40) AND accurate...but you already knew that. Um...did you know that he grew his bangs out? Is that new?
Blake Renaud worked out a fullback at Pro Day...maybe trying to follow in the footsteps of Bronco LBs turned NFL fullbacks Korey Hall and Bryan Johnson.
Matt Miller was a little rusty coming off his ankle injury, but I think showed well enough to pique the interest of scouts. Miller measured at 6'3" 220 lbs. leapt 34" and 9'6" in the vertical and broadjump, respectively, and clocked an adequate 40 time in the mid 4.7 range (I believe that'll come down as his ankle gets stronger).
Dan Goodale went 13-of-15 on FG attempts at the Caven-WIlliams Practice Facility and nailed a 60 yarder. The only misses came from 51 yards and a second attempt at a 60-yarder. Scout had to be impressed by his Brett Keisel-like beard growing prowess as well.
Cleshawn Page and Bryan Douglas both clocked unofficial 40 times in the sub-4.3 range...but once they became "official times" they went from "unbelievable" to "pretty dang fast". Page's 40 was the fastest of the day, at 4.43. How many Red Bulls did this kid drink?