ENGLEWOOD, Colo—The Denver Broncos wrapped up the signing of their 2015 NFL Draft class today, by inking injured tight end Jeff Heuerman. Per the slotted structuring, Heuerman signed a four-year, $3M deal, with a $600,000 signing bonus. Heuerman, the Broncos third round pick, most unfortunately, tore his ACL at rookie mini-camp just a few weeks ago and will spend his entire rookie season on injured reserve.
However, with today’s signing, the Broncos now have each of their nine 2015 draft picks under contract, including first rounder Shane Ray. Even though the Broncos have one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the National Football League, many of the team’s rookies have the opportunity to impact the team early.
With Ryan Clady tearing his ACL last week, second round pick Ty Sambrailo has been thrust into action early, and is currently holding down the fort as the left tackle in the Broncos first offensive unit. The team had plans for Sambrailo to contribute early, but foresaw him as Clady’s bookend tackle on the right side of the O-line. Now, he’ll have to step in for a four-time Pro Bowler and protect the blindside of one of the NFL’s least mobile quarterbacks in Peyton Manning.
Ray has been rehabbing his injured foot and had been held out of the Broncos offseason training activities—until last Monday. The team’s medical staff was confident enough in the progress of Ray’s foot to allow him to practice with his teammates in Phase Three of organized team activities, albeit in a limited mode. Ray will see the field plenty as a rookie as part of the Broncos potent third down pass rush.
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Fourth round pick Max Garcia is a versatile young offensive lineman, who could see opportunity to contribute at center or left guard, if Shelley Smith and/or Gino Gradkowski fail to impress in training camp. Although the team’s fifth round pick, Lorenzo Doss, faces a stiff task in seeing the field as a rookie, sixth round defensive tackle Darius Kilgo has already earned some praise from his coaches and figures into the rotation behind Sylvester Williams at the Broncos nose tackle position.
Of the Broncos trio of seventh round picks, safety Josh Furman has the greatest opportunity to make an impact as a rookie. The Broncos don’t have a go-to option at strong safety behind T.J. Ward and Furman could be that guy. As a heat-seeking missile in the box, Furman has many of the same traits as Ward, but lacks a polished skill-set in coverage.