The Denver Broncos concluded their preseason last night with a 23-13 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. It was a strong showing by the team after their disappointing loss at the Buffalo Bills last week.
Unlike last week, I have a good number of winners for the Broncos after a solid performance while only a handful of losers.
Running Back, Mike Boone
The Broncos third-string running back came out firing last night and showed the coaches why he deserves some carries during the regular season as well.
Mike Boone ends the first quarter with 51 yards — 44 yards on 5 carries, 7 on 2 receptions. I think he’s called enough.
—Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 28, 2022
Boone looked like the best player on the field for the second consecutive game and finished the night with 5 carries for 54 yards, an impressive 8.8 yards per carry, and 2 receptions for 7 yards.
Boone finished the preseason strong and so did the Broncos’ overall running game. After being pretty anemic through the first two preseason games, they totaled 148 total yards rushing last night. So, hopefully, this is a sign of things to come once Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon hit the field in two weeks vs. the Seattle Seahawks.
Safety, Delarrin Turner-Yell
The rookie had his best game tonight and showed the Broncos coaches that he deserves a spot on the 53-man roster.
The rookie safety was flying around and hitting people in this game and even had a near impressive hit that would have denied a touchdown on 4th and goal. It was later reviewed that the ball did cross the plane, but still, it was an impressive player by Turner-Yell.
He then made another big play on 4th and goal when he sacked Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond to force a turnover on downs. The Broncos rookie is competing to be the fifth safety on the roster behind Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson, Caden Sterns, and PJ Locke.
Defensive Lineman, McTelvin Agim
The former third-round pick had one of his best games ever and potentially helped himself make the Broncos’ 53-man roster.
Nathaniel Hackett said McTelvin Agim was “all over the place” and was really impressed with his push at the line of scrimmage.
— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) August 28, 2022
Agim had multiple pass deflections, much like former Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris, had a sack and was just all over the field as Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett said after the game.
The Broncos’ defensive line depth isn’t great after DJ and Dre’Mont Jones so Agim playing well does make you feel a little better about that. I am not sure if Agim’s roster spot is safe, but a game like this certainly does not hurt his chances of making the roster.
Edge Rusher, Nik Bonitto
One player who needed a strong finish to the preseason was second-round pick Nik Bonitto. The rookie edge rusher had an up-and-down start to his NFL career, but he ended the preseason strong.
He showcased his explosiveness, pass-rushing moves, and the ability to shed blockers and get to the passer. Bonitto finished the night with 2 sacks, one forced fumble, and multiple pressures.
Bonitto is likely the fourth or fifth edge rusher on the team, so he still has time to develop. However, tonight he showed why the Broncos were high on him and what he can potentially bring to the Broncos’ defense in the future.
Wide Receiver, Seth Williams
The Broncos’ wide receiver stepped up big in the preseason finale and helped make his case for a spot on the 53-man roster.
He caught four balls for 68 yards which included a deep ball from quarterback Brett Rypien who found Williams wide open down the field. Williams had to make a bit of a nice catch to get to the ball and was able to get some YAC after the play as well.
Williams seems like on the outside looking in for a roster spot, but this performance could help him get a roster spot on the Broncos or with another team. If not, he seems destined for a spot on the Broncos’ 16-man practice squad.
Wide Receiver KJ Hamler
After a long rehab process for wide receiver KJ Hamler, he returned to the field for the first time since he suffered a torn ACL and hip injury early last season.
He finished the night with 3 catches for 18 yards. A pretty unimpressive stat line, but that’s not what is important. Hamler looked quick, was making cuts, took a few hits, and most importantly, came out of the game healthy.
We will likely see Hamler lined up as a starter against the Seahawks and potentially make some big splash plays with quarterback Russell Wilson throwing him the ball.
Quarterbacks Brett Rypien and Josh Johnson
I am not sure if either are really “losers” after last night’s game, but neither really came out looking great. Rypien did have a few nice drives but an interception in the end zone really soured his night. He did lead a touchdown drive that ended with Montrell Washington taking an end around to the end zone, but it was a fairly pedestrian night for the Broncos quarterback.
As for Josh Johnson, he did not really do much in the second half. My confidence in both being solid backup quarterbacks for the Broncos is fairly low. I wouldn’t be shocked if neither of these two makes the roster if a better option becomes available.
Wide Receiver, Brandon Johnson
The undrafted rookie looks locked in for a roster spot, but he, unfortunately, suffered a high ankle sprain on the first play of the game.
The severity of the ankle sprain is unknown, but high ankle sprains are tricky injuries that could sideline you longer than the original diagnosis.
This sucks for Johnson because he seems locked in for a roster spot, but this injury derails that just a bit. It seems unlikely that this will be a long-term injury, but the Broncos could choose to place him on the injured reserve and keep another receiver on the roster while Johnson heals.
In the end, anytime a player who’s somewhat on the roster bubble suffers an injury during the preseason finale it is a bummer.
Wide Receiver, Jalen Virgil
Undrafted wide receiver Jalen Virgil has a nice stat line, but a few errors, and when he entered the game is why I am including him here.
He started off the game with a muffed kick-off return that had the Broncos starting deep in their territory. He then later had an offensive pass interference in the red zone that pushed the Broncos back from being within the 1-yard line.
Also, Virgil did not enter until the third quarter and seemed behind Montrell Washington, Brandon Johnson, and Seth Williams on the depth chart. So, this seems to point to Virgil being a strong candidate for a spot on the practice squad, but unlikely for a 53-man roster spot.
Long Snapper, Jacob Bobenmoyer
It is never good if the long snapper gets noticed in a game, and that happened last night. He had a few off-target snaps and then carried a punt into the end zone which led to a touchback instead of downing the ball within the five-yard line
This is notable because the Broncos worked out multiple long snappers during Training Camp and could look for a replacement again during the cut-down period.