November 30, 2009
ENGLEWOOD – This season has had some good moments for the Denver Broncos’ rookie class, and plenty of forgettable ones.
Many have seen playing time taken away, or have not received much playing time at all. The Broncos had 10 draft picks, including two in the first round and three more in the second round, and only one has become a regular starter.
Yet, individually, it’s too early to pass judgment on the rookie class.
"I think all of our rookies, and all rookies every year that come in, go through that process of learning and trying to understand how much this game changes on a weekly basis,” Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said in early November, “sometimes that takes a while."
Aside from rookie running back Knowshon Moreno, the Broncos’ starting tailback and NFL’s leading rusher among rookies, some of the other rookies have struggled to find roles. Robert Ayers, Denver’s second first-round pick after Moreno, has no sacks and was deactivated for Denver’s Nov. 22 game against the Chargers. Tight end Richard Quinn has played sparingly and has no catches. The Broncos signed 35-year-old Ty Law to replace second-round pick Alphonso Smith as the team’s third cornerback. The only second-day pick to make much of an impact is safety David Bruton, on special teams.
For the first-year players, there is maturing still to do.
“Until I get to the point where I’m doing almost no bad things, that’s when I’ll be satisfied,” Ayers said last week. “The good things will come, it’s just deleting the negative things.”
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