Measurables: 5-foot-11, 187 pounds.
2014 stats: N/A *rookie.
While the Denver Broncos are blessed to have the statistically-best cornerback in football in Chris Harris, Jr. and Aqib Talib holding down the other side, to say nothing of last year’s first round pick Bradley Roby, John Elway still deemed it necessary to draft some depth at the position.
Thus, this past spring, Elway and the Broncos brass drafted durable and productive cornerback Lorenzo Doss out of Tulane with the No. 164 overall selection in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
In addition to being a versatile athlete who also starred on Tulane's track and field team, competing in the 100-meter dash as well as on the 4 x 100-meter and 4 x 400-meter relay teams for the Green Wave, he has much in common with the Broncos star signal-caller Peyton Manning.
Both Doss and Manning are native to New Orleans, with Doss starring at St. Augustine High School (Tulane is also in the Big Easy), while Manning attended Isidore Newman School. However, if Doss is to be a quick study in his NFL career, he will have to perform well in daily practices against his fellow native son in order to be game-ready when called upon.
There is nothing in Doss' scholastic or collegiate career suggesting he will not be up to the challelnge. His 15 career interceptions at Tulane are the second-most in school history, while his 271 return yards on the pass thefts are first in Green Wave history. These numbers are all the more impressive when one considers he forewent his senior season of eligibility.
While at Tulane, Doss started 34-of-37 games he played in over the course of three seasons (2012-14) and in his collegiate career posted 126 tackles (94 solo stops), and 35 passes defensed, as well as one sack and two fumble recoveries.
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In 2013, his sophomore season, he had his most impressive campaign as a collegian, posting 34 total tackles (25 solo), seven interceptions (two returned for scores) and 16 defensed passes. His stellar production earned him a place on the second-team All-American squad, as well as a spot on the first-team All- Conference USA squad.
In 2014, Doss achieved comparably highly, earning second-team All-American Athletic Conference plaudits, while also earning All-Louisiana honors as well. The All-Louisiana honor is significant, as this is a team for all Louisiana-based college football players and includes SEC powerhouse LSU, which consistently gives the NFL prodigious stars.
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It is perhaps a propitious portent for Doss that despite playing on teams that went a combined 12-25 in his college career, he still was a high achiever for head coach Curtis Johnson.
In perusing his Twitter account, which can be found @Lorenzo_Doss, he has been found to be an admirer of New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, calling him a “true technician on the field.” Additionally, when conversing with Broncos fans, Doss has said Harris is “one of the smartest in the game” and a “true beast day in and day out at practice.”
It's apparent that he is gaining some key mentors and if he learns from the fountain of knowledge that is Manning, the sky could be the limit for this kid, as he obviously has stellar athleticism going for him and ball-hawking acumen already.
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In closing, although it might be placing the bar too high for the (at best) No. 4 CB on the roster, I believe that Doss has the potential to be the Defensive Rookie of the Year. Obviously, as an NFL neophyte, he would need to see the field consistently to be in that conversation.
He will likely be picked on by opposing signal-callers, just as Harris and Roby were before him. Much to the detriment of many Broncos opponents, however, they will likely learn to make wiser decisions, if he progresses as he should.
Lorenzo Doss could be the latest diamond in the rough discovered by Elway and company.