Riley Moss

Broncos’ Riley Moss ‘Firmly In Mix’ To Start

The Broncos have identified a star cornerback in Patrick Surtain; the fourth-year player is a clear extension candidate. Last season also featured the emergence of slot defender Ja’Quan McMillian. With two regular spots locked down, Denver will still go into training camp with uncertainty at the position.

After Week 1 starter Damarri Mathis did not pan out in DC Vance Joseph‘s first season back with the team, the Broncos received better play from replacement Fabian Moreau. The latter is no longer on the roster, opening the door to a CB2 battle featuring a host of players. While none appears a true frontrunner, the team’s investment in Riley Moss remains notable.

Denver sent Seattle a 2024 third-round pick to trade up for the Iowa corner in the 2023 third round, but an offseason injury — requiring sports hernia surgery — sidetracked the rookie’s season. Moss played only 23 defensive snaps last year, but he is a clear candidate to man the boundary spot opposite Surtain. Moss is “firmly in the mix” for the job, per the Denver Post’s Troy Renck, with colleague Parker Gabriel indicating the second-year CB will be given every chance to land the gig after an impressive offseason.

Moss’ primary competitors appear to be Mathis and free agency addition Levi Wallace. Mathis replaced an injured Ronald Darby in Denver’s lineup early in the 2022 season but could not sustain his momentum last year. The former fourth-round pick did not exceed nine defensive snaps in any game following his Week 7 benching, playing zero snaps in six of the team’s final seven contests.

Wallace, who turned 29 last week, spent the past two seasons with the Steelers. An ex-Bills starter, Wallace also saw his role change in-season. The former UDFA shifted to a backup role midseason and did not return to starter duty until injuries affected Pittsburgh’s depth chart in late December. Pro Football Focus rated Wallace 88th among CBs last season, and despite a reduced workload, the six-year veteran allowed six touchdown passes as the closest defender.

The Broncos will give the 6-foot defender a chance to bounce back, though they only authorized a one-year deal worth $1.29MM ($668K guaranteed). Denver also drafted Missouri’s Kris Abrams-Draine in the fifth round, but he may not be thrown into the mix immediately.

The team’s positional makeup ahead of camp points to Moss being the preferred option. He was drafted under Sean Payton — whereas Mathis arrived during the Nathaniel Hackett-Ejiro Evero year — to play in Joseph’s scheme. The Broncos moved up 25 draft slots to acquire Moss, giving up one of their 2024 third-round picks — they received another from the Saints in the swap for Payton’s rights — to obtain him.

A former Iowa high school 110-meter hurdles champion, Moss moved from two-star recruit to Hawkeyes regular. The 6-foot defender intercepted 11 passes in his five college seasons, playing alongside Eagles second-round pick Cooper DeJean. Moss earned first-team All-Big Ten acclaim in 2021 and ’22.

Moss will obviously be attempting to break norms as a white NFL cornerback; no team has started a white corner since the Bengals’ Kevin Kaesviharn in 2003, Renck adds. Kaesviharn moved to safety soon after, spending much of his nine-year career there. Jason Sehorn, a Giants starter from 1996-2002, resides as the NFL’s last long-term white CB.

Whomever the Broncos decide to use as their primary CB2 starter will certainly be tested regularly, as teams will undoubtedly target the to-be-determined player with Surtain patrolling the other side. Moss showing he can stick at the position would give the Broncos a low-cost answer opposite Surtain, who could make a case to become the NFL’s highest-paid CB by a wide margin — considering the current gap between the wide receiver ceiling and the top CB number ($21MM AAV presently) — this offseason or in 2025.

If this competition underwhelms, the Broncos would have some options — should they seek more outside help. Adoree’ Jackson remains unsigned, as do Xavien Howard, Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson and likely Hall of Famer Patrick Peterson. Though, Peterson and Gilmore will each turn 34 soon. It stands to reason most of this lot will find jobs soon. Considering the Broncos’ situation, it would not exactly surprise to see them connected to one of them.

Broncos’ Jerry Jeudy To Return In Week 2

The Broncos will have their top wide receiver available in Week 2. Jerry Jeudy faced a return timetable of “several weeks” upon suffering a hamstring injury on Aug. 24, but he will make it back after missing just one regular-season game.

Sean Payton said Jeudy is good to go for Sunday’s Commanders-Broncos game. This will help a team that finished its opener without three of its top four pass catchers. Tim Patrick is set to miss another full season, and tight end Greg Dulcich suffered a hamstring injury that is expected to keep him out multiple weeks.

Jeudy is going into his fourth NFL season. While the former first-round pick has missed the fewest number of games, Jeudy setbacks have been part of an injury-prone pass-catching cast’s health history. The Broncos have seen Patrick suffer multiple season-ending maladies during training camp and Sutton go down with an ACL tear in Week 2 of the 2020 season. KJ Hamler sustained an ACL tear in Week 3 of the 2021 campaign and missed much of last season as well. A Hamler heart issue led the Broncos to waive the former second-round pick, with the prospect of a reunion in play, during camp this year.

The No. 15 overall pick in 2020, Jeudy missed much of the 2021 season because of a high ankle sprain. He showed progress down the stretch of last year’s abysmal Broncos season. The shifty route runner totaled 67 receptions for 972 yards and six touchdowns last year, putting together a strong finish to provide a glimmer of hope after the Broncos’ Russell WilsonNathaniel Hackett season ended with the team dropping to last place in scoring.

Denver picked up Jeudy’s $12.99MM fifth-year option in May, doing so after dangling him in trades. With Patrick out of the picture, both Jeudy and fellow offseason trade chip Courtland Sutton will be needed. Denver needed to use the likes of Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Brandon Johnson and Phillip Dorsett alongside Sutton and second-round rookie Marvin Mims against the Raiders. Jeudy returning should provide a boost to the 0-1 team, which did present a more respectable passing attack in Week 1. The Broncos’ progress stalled in the second half, however.

In addition to Jeudy, third-round rookie Riley Moss will make his season debut in Week 2. The Broncos traded up for the Iowa cornerback in April, sending the Seahawks a 2024 third-round pick to climb up for Moss at No. 83. The 6-foot-1 defender, who underwent core muscle surgery this summer, will join a Broncos cornerback corps missing slot defender K’Waun Williams. While All-Pro Patrick Surtain anchors this group, the Broncos have questions at their other corner spots.

NFL Injury Updates: Kupp, Moss, Anderson

Last night, the Rams suffered a scare as former All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp left a Tuesday night practice early with a hamstring injury, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The veteran underwent an MRI to determine the extent of the damage early this morning.

While many players who talked with the media didn’t see the injury occur, it’s believed that he was forced to pull up while running a redzone route, leading to concern as a non-contact injury. Without details being released, a spokesperson for the team confirmed the injury.

Kupp’s presence in the Rams’ offense is vital. A year after winning the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award, Kupp once again led the team in receiving yards last season. What’s amazing about that is that, this time, he did it despite missing eight games due to injury. If he had continued to play the remainder of the season and produce at the same pace, he would have finished the season with the third-most receiving yards in the league last year, behind only Justin Jefferson and Tyreek Hill.

After Kupp missed the back half of the season last year with a high ankle sprain, the team is going to be delicate with any injury situation heading into the preseason. They will be cautious with Kupp moving forward, but Los Angeles does expect that he may be able to return “for scrimmages in a few weeks.”

Here are a couple of other updates on injuries from around the league:

  • One of Denver’s newest young cornerbacks will be cutting it close to play in Week 1 of his rookie season, according to Troy Renck of Denver7. The Broncos‘ second of two third-round picks, former Iowa cornerback Riley Moss underwent “core/sports hernia surgery” this week in Philadelphia. The recovery is expected to take around four weeks, which will have Moss back just in time to debut for the regular season if he can avoid any setbacks.
  • The Patriots were really hoping to see former Broncos offensive tackle Calvin Anderson step up and compete for a starting tackle job on their offensive line this summer. Unfortunately, Anderson began camp on the non-football illness list with an undisclosed illness. When asked about a timeline for Anderson’s return, head coach Bill Belichick gave the noncommittal response of, “We’ll see how it goes,” telling reporters that he doesn’t have a crystal ball. It’s unclear what form of illness could be holding Anderson out for such a long period of time without hope for reprieve, but based on Belichick’s answer, New England may need to start looking at other options in their tackle competition.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/12/23

Rookie minicamps started today and more rookies put the names on the dotted line of their four-year contracts. Here are the mid- to late-round picks who signed today:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington Commanders

Broncos Trade 2024 Third-Rounder To Move Into Seahawks’ No. 83 Slot

The Broncos and Seahawks are trading again. While this is not a pick Seattle obtained in the Russell Wilson trade, the NFC West team will send it to Denver.

With the newly obtained choice, the Broncos are taking Iowa defensive back Riley Moss. The Broncos are paying up to make this move. They will send the Seahawks No. 108 this year and a 2024 third-round pick, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Moss was a two-star recruit who chose local Iowa for college. He made an immediate impact in the Hawkeyes’ secondary making 24 tackles, two interceptions, and five passes defensed as a freshman. As a four-year starter, Moss played way beyond his high school rankings. He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors this year and was a first-team All-American in 2021. Over five years in Iowa City, Moss totaled 11 interceptions and 37 passes defensed. He added physicality with four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in his last two years.

Moss is electric after making an interception. He’s top 19 in school history in interceptions but top two in interception return yards. He’s a true hustler not only on defense but as a huge special teams contributor, as well. He does have a little injury history in his hip and left knee, but Moss only missed seven games over five years. Some pundits pegged him as a safety at the next level, but after five years at Iowa as a true outside cornerback, it’s hard to imagine Moss settling for anything less.

More realistically, Moss provides Denver with true defensive back depth. All-Pro Patrick Surtain leads the Broncos’ cornerback contingent. Damarri Mathis filled in for Ronald Darby after his October ACL tear; the team cut Darby last month. After seeing oft-used backup safety Caden Sterns miss 12 games last year with injury, the Broncos may hope to see Moss in a role at safety, but Moss has the ability to play at any position in the secondary. Regardless, the Broncos are getting a hard worker who truly prides himself on proving he can do what others think he can’t.