Englewood, CO — Nine NFL draft prospects from eight Denver metro area high schools got the opportunity to work out for Denver Broncos coaches and front office executives Tuesday as the team hosted their 2016 local pro day.
Per NFL rules, each team is allowed to invite draft prospects who attended college or high school in the club’s “metropolitan area” to work out in front of the club’s couts, coaches, and officials. The “local pro day” gives selected prospects the chance to audition for the team many of them grew up loving.
The Broncos chose to invite Hawaii guard Ben Clarke, a Chatfield High School graduate, Dartmouth safety Troy Donahue, a Mullen graduate, Colorado State wide receiver Joe Hansley, a Highlands Ranch alum, Cameron McDondle, a CSU-Pueblo running back and Columbine graduate.
Tight end Michael Miller from Taylor University and Valor Christian, Montana State's Taylor Sheridan, a defensive lineman from Rock Canyon High School, Rangeview alum and Sioux Falls cornerback John Tidwell, and Eddie Yarbrough, a defensive end from Wyoming and a graduate of Grandview High School.
“It was very cool coming in here today,” McCaffrey said. “Watching everyone when I was younger, now I get the chance to actually come out here and play. It was awesome.”
McCaffrey, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 194 pounds, is expected to be taken in the later rounds of the draft, or could be available as an undrafted free agent. However, after an impressive performance at Duke’s pro day, where he ran an eye-popping 4.36 40-yard dash, his stock is rising. McCaffrey came into his workout with the Broncos looking to build on that performance.
“Pro day is a lot of athleticism type stuff, a lot of track stuff,” McCaffrey said. “Out here, we’re running routes. It’s back to football stuff, back to receiver stuff. It’s back to football, which we all out here have played for a long time.”
While there may not have been any 40 yard dashes or three cone drills at the Broncos’ local combine, prospects got the chance to get hands-on coaching from the team’s championship coaching staff. Wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert took the opportunity to give coach up the 21-year-old McCaffrey.
“He gave some great pointers,” McCaffrey said. “A lot of the routes we run at Duke are a little different than the ones that we run here. So, he’s just giving you pointers to keep your head down, stay low in your routes. That was great stuff that I can take on and carry with me.”
According to sources, the Broncos do intend to pick up a wide receiver, either in the draft or as an undrafted free agent. McCaffrey would be thrilled to be given that opportunity.
“It would be awesome to be a Bronco,” McCaffrey said. “I would love to come out here. I know a lot of the people here. I know a lot of the ex-players who are coaches now. If I got the chance to come here, it would be an amazing opportunity.”
While McCaffrey may have been the star, he was far from the only standout. Tight end Michael Miller, a 6-foot-6, 235-pound tight end from Taylor College and Valor Christian High School instantly drew the attention of those in attendance for his workout.
Miller, 24, attended CSU-Pueblo before transferring to a junior college and ultimately playing for Taylor, a Christian college in Indiana. That journey, Miller says, is what made him ready for the NFL.
“It’s been an interesting journey,” Miller said. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
For Hawaii’s Ben Clarke, a Chatfield graduate, having the opportunity to work out in front of the team he grew up loving was an experience he’ll carry with him.
“Walking in here this morning was really surreal,” Clarke said. “Growing up a Broncos fan, I never really thought I would get this opportunity. I really appreciate it.”
The Broncos will continue their draft evaluation process through the start of the NFL Draft in Chicago on April 28.
Jake Marsing is the Broncos Beat Writer for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @JakeDMarsing
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