Dalton Risner

Broncos Notes: Sanders, Butt, Lock, CBs

After Chris Harris and Emmanuel Sanders suffered season-ending injuries in a four-day span last December, the Broncos lost their final four games and reassembled their coaching staff. The team did not make any major additions at wide receiver this offseason, waiting until the sixth round to address the spot. Sanders has shown steady progress during offseason Achilles rehab, but the 32-year-old wideout conceded Tuesday (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter) he will not be full-go to start Denver’s training camp. With the veteran not yet certain to be ready to play by Week 1, a stay on the active/PUP list to start camp seems likely. The Broncos, whom Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com ranked 31st on his list of skill-position groups, are counting on Sanders to reprise his role as a key starter.

With the Broncos two days away from training camp, here is the latest out of Denver:

  • While Sanders may not avoid the active/PUP list, it appears Jake Butt will. The third-year tight end is attempting to recover from the third torn ACL of his playing career, but the Michigan product said (via the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran, on Twitter) he will not land on the PUP list to start camp. However, the Broncos will still ease him back to practice work. The Broncos brought back Jeff Heuerman and drafted Noah Fant, but Butt could still be a nice bonus for a team with an uncertain pass-catcher situation.
  • Denver used third-round picks in 2017 and ’18 on cornerbacks, but neither Brendan Langley nor Isaac Yiadom have a locked-in role going into camp. Langley has been moved to wide receiver, and Yiadom might not even be the favorite for the team’s No. 4 cornerback gig. The Broncos’ top three of Harris, Bryce Callahan and Kareem Jackson (in nickel sets) is set, and O’Halloran notes Alliance of American Football refugee De’Vante Bausby may be the player to beat for the Broncos’ CB4 role. Bausby played for Vic Fangio briefly in 2016 and suited up for six Eagles games last season.
  • Dalton Risner agreed to terms on his second-round rookie deal. Drew Lock has not. But the Broncos are not planning to cave to Lock’s reported aim at securing an overslot deal. They will not pay Lock more than what Risner received, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Risner was taken 41st overall, and while Lock was projected to be a first-round pick for most of the draft process, the four-year Missouri starter went 42nd.

Broncos Sign G Dalton Risner

The Broncos’ situation with Drew Lock had created a holdup with the player selected one spot ahead of him, but that issue has been resolved. No. 41 overall pick Dalton Risner agreed to terms on his four-year rookie deal, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets.

Risner is expected to sign the contract later on Tuesday. This leaves Lock as Denver’s only unsigned rookie. The two went off the board back-to-back in the second round, and Lock is reportedly seeking a “quarterback premium” contract. The first two years of Risner’s deal are fully guaranteed, per Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter).

But the player from Denver’s draft class expected to contribute immediately will be available when the team opens training camp Thursday. Risner is slated to start at left guard for the Broncos, who will stash Lock behind Joe Flacco for the time being.

A well-regarded prospect out of Kansas State, Risner played multiple positions for the Wildcats. He served as the Big 12 program’s starting right tackle from 2016-18, earning first-team All-American acclaim as a senior, and began his career as a 13-game starter at center for the 2015 K-State iteration. Pro Football Focus tabbed Risner as a first-team All-American in his final two seasons. The Colorado native will attempt to help the Broncos up front, after they lost both Matt Paradis and Billy Turner in free agency.

Here is the Broncos’ 2019 draft class:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Hit Snag In Drew Lock Negotiations

The Broncos’ negotiations with second-round picks Drew Lock and Dalton Risner have hit a snag, as Mike Klis of KUSA writes. Lock, the No. 42 pick, is seeking a “quarterback premium,” meaning that he wants more money than his draft slot dictates. Meanwhile, Risner, the No. 41 overall choice, doesn’t want to take less money than the player behind him. 

Heading into the draft, many believed that Lock would be selected in the first round. His unexpected slide landed him in the eager arms of John Elway, who traded back into Round Two to grab him. From a career perspective, Lock is in a solid situation as the heir apparent to Joe Flacco‘s starting job. However, his camp is looking to recoup some of the money that was lost by his drop.

What this effectively means is that Lock and Risner (the team’s expected starting left guard) might not be in attendance for the first meeting for rookies on Wednesday or practice on Thursday. It’s unlikely that either situation will result in a prolonged stalemate, but stranger things have happened in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Rumors: Quinnen, Taylor, Jacobs

Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is meeting with the Cardinals today, and is scheduled to sit down with the Jets and Giants in two weeks, according to Ian Rapoport and Kimberly Jones of NFL.com (Twitter links). While most observers believe Arizona will ultimately use the No. 1 overall selection on Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, Rapoport indicates both Williams and Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa are still in consideration for the top pick. The Jets and Giants present more realistic landing spots for Williams, who is viewed as the best interior prospect available. He’s also met with the Raiders and 49ers, each of whom hold top-five picks.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • The Falcons are working out Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor on Thursday, tweets Rapoport. Along with Alabama’s Jonah Williams, Taylor is considered one of the top tackle prospects on the board in 2019. Taylor, who didn’t work out at the combine due to injury, has also met with the Jaguars. Atlanta, for their part, released right tackle Ryan Schraeder earlier this year and extended Ty Sambrailo, who figures to enter the season as the Falcons’ starter on the right side. Taylor would be a luxury choice for Atlanta, who hold the 14th overall selection.
  • Alabama running back Josh Jacobs visited the Ravens today, reports Josh Norris of Rotoworld (Twitter link). Viewed as the best running back available in the draft, Jacobs could be on the board when Baltimore picks late in the first round. While Jacobs isn’t an elite athlete, he’s considered a true three-down back who could help immediately. The Ravens, of course, signed veteran Mark Ingram to pair with Gus Edwards, so running back isn’t necessarily their most obvious area of need.
  • The Rams hosted Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite on Wednesday, tweets Norris. The pre-draft process has not been kind to Polite, who had been viewed as a potential first-round selection. Polite performed poorly during athletic testing, while his interviews with clubs were also widely panned. Additionally, Polite is battling currently battling through hamstring injuries. Los Angeles re-signed pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. and also added Clay Matthews, but given that a club can never have too many defensive ends/linebackers, Polite could be in consideration.
  • Kansas State offensive tackle Dalton Risner met with the Broncos on Thursday, per Norris (Twitter link). Denver invested a 2017 first-round pick in Garett Bolles and made Ja’Wuan James the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle this offseason, but Risner could slide to guard if selected by the Broncos. Indeed, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com’s best comparison for Risner is Bears interior lineman Cody Whitehair.
  • The Seahawks will visit with Arizona State wide receiver N’Keal Harry before the draft, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. Harry (6’4″, 213) managed at least 70 receptions, 1,200 yards, and eight touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. He should be available when Seattle makes its first-round pick at No. 21, and could reinforce a Seahawks receiving corps that already includes Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin.