Kareem Jackson plays safety at Broncos camp – NFL.com

Kareem Jackson plays safety at Broncos camp - NFL.com

Revelations from first Broncos mini-camp of the Vic Fangio era

Broncos coach Vic Fangio told reporters on Thursday that former Houston Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson has been playing safety during Denvers offseason program.

"We played him at safety in this camp, for the reason that theres more to learn at safety than there is at corner," Fangio said. "Hes played much more corner in his career, so I wanted him to get more work in this camp — all of his work — at the safety position, to feel comfortable there."

With the NFL draft quickly approaching, it’s always fun to look back on previous drafts to relive both the great picks and the terrible ones. Here, we’re going to jump into the way-back machine and either remind fans or let them know for the first time about some legendary players that were drafted by the Broncos but made their names elsewhere.

4 legendary players fans may not realize were drafted by the Broncos

The defensive back, who plays mainly at corner but took snaps at safety last season, came over from Houston in free agency, signing a three-year, $33 million deal with Denver.

Jackson, 30, is expected to start alongside veteran corner Chris Harris and nickelback Bryce Callahan in a retooled Broncos secondary; Denver lost Bradley Roby, Tramaine Brock and Darian Stewart in free agency.

It’s ironic considering that the best player in Broncos history, John Elway, was a player the team did not draft but rather obtained via trade. Here is a list of names you’re most likely familiar with that were drafted by the Broncos.

Harris, though, is sitting out Denvers offseason program aside he enters the final year of his contract with the club, and there remains uncertainty at the safety position across from Justin Simmons.

Olsen was one of the best overall defensive players that ever stepped on a football field and that is no exaggeration. He was a key cog on the Rams’ “Fearsome Foursome,” one of the best front fours in league history.

The Broncos held their pre-draft veteran minicamp this week. Teams with new coaches are permitted one voluntary camp before the draft so they can work more closely with unfamiliar players. The minicamp allows coaches to be on the field (whereas other Phase One workouts have solely been with the training staff) and run a non-contact, no-padded practice.

This offered Denvers first-year coaching staff its first up-close look at new acquisitions like Jackson and Callahan and rising studs like Simmons in the secondary. The Broncos coaches already like what they see.

"Its pretty rare," Broncos defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said of Jacksons skill set. "The guy has played a lot of positions in the NFL. He started as a corner, a nickel and a safety. Thats what we like. We just liked the way he played football and we knew we were building this defense. Well plug him in where he best suits us."

He was also selected to the Pro Bowl 14 times, a feat a handful of players have matched, but no player in history has ever surpassed.

Its not yet clear where Jackson will play most of the snaps in his first season in the Mile High City, but theres no question whether hell be on the field.

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"Hell be out there somewhere," Fangio said. "Where, I dont know. And Im being honest with you."

Joes been a pro in the NFL for a long time, Scangarello said. His résumé is really solid when you just look at the course of his career, but more than anything, I think his skill set marries very, very well with the type of offense we run. Hes tough, he stands in the pocket and he can make all the throws. Those are the things that, of course, you want in a quarterback. Were looking forward to building on that and working with it.

A week out from the kickoff of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos concluded their three-day voluntary mini-camp. It was our first chance to observe Vic Fangio and his new coaching staff interact with the Broncos’ collection of players out on the grass.

The first two weeks of these Organized Team Activities were spent in the classroom and weight room. The vast majority of energy spent was the mental kind, as Fangio and offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello taught their respective schemes.

Youre cramming for a test, basically, when you do a minicamp like this, Scangarello said. Youve had them for two weeks and youre just trying to see where everyones at. Part of it is to teach some guys the skills youre doing, and part of it is to see what kind of things each individual can do a little as we move forward into the next phase.

These last three days of mini-camp were spent ‘installing’ the offense and defense. In other words, taking what they learned from the classroom and beginning to implement it on the football field.

I think terminology-wise, Im familiar with a lot, Flacco said. … Thats kind of made the transition easy. I think the play-[action] pass stuff, there is a lot of stuff that Im familiar with — the keepers. I think some of the drop-back game is different, but overall, I would say there is a pretty good amount of familiarity with it.

It’ll be a while before the players are fully assimilated to the new system. As you can tell, this phase of OTAs is mostly about learning.

Running Backs Coach Curtis Modkins and Wide Receivers Coach Zach Azzanni both know the personnel well after they spent 2018 in Denver, and Mike Munchak brings Hall of Fame credibility to the offensive line room. Tight Ends Coach Wade Harman also possesses decades of experience and worked with Scangarello in Atlanta.

However, that doesn’t mean the proceedings didn’t offer us new information and situations to analyze. These last three weeks most certainly did.

It might seem like a small thing. But it epitomizes the difference in philosophy between Vic Fangio and Vance Joseph.

By striving to re-create as many game-like situations as possible in April — even during the learning and install process of the offseason — the Broncos will in theory be that much more prepared for action in the fall when the games count.

Philosophy and offensive systems, though, dont mean much if a team lacks the players who can implement it. As the Broncos looked for a quarterback who could do just that, Flacco emerged as an ideal option.

Flacco has been billed as having a flat personality, so it was somewhat surprising to see him plant a flag in the ground and take a stand of sorts. The Broncos have a big decision to make at pick 10, but if Flacco has any say, that selection would be better spent on a non-QB blue-chipper.

Kareem Jackson is a versatile defensive back. Starting off OTAs at safety by no means guarantees Jackson will stay there during the season, but it’s a clear indication that Fangio and DC Ed Donatell plan on moving him around the chess board on gamedays.

Scangarello, who served as the 49ers' quarterbacks coach during the previous two seasons, now finds himself in the room with quarterback Joe Flacco during position meetings.

De’Vante Bausby was the now-defunct AAF’s interceptions leader, and Fangio had some familiarity with him. With Kareem Jackson exclusively at safety, Chris Harris, Jr. holding out and Bryce Callahan recovering from injury, Bausby spent mini-camp as Denver’s No. 1 corner.

The Broncos need Chris Harris, Jr. but not necessarily right now. When training camp rolls around, if Harris is still absent, the Broncos will have a problem.

Meanwhile, the player is doing what he can to leverage the front office into giving him a new contract. And more power to him.

The Broncos’ schedule was just released on Wednesday, and it’s brutal. Denver has the second-hardest schedule on paper but just remember, in the NFL, parity reigns supreme.

A schedule looks very different by November than it initially does in the spring. For the Broncos to have a chance at a winning season, Flacco and Scangarello will need to bring the thunder, but just in case, as Fangio said, the defense will be ready to carry the load.

Scangarello went on to call Flacco the “perfect fit” for his scheme. For his part, Flacco said that it’s been “a lot of fun” learning and installing Scangarello’s offense — a similar scheme to the one that helped him produce the best statistical season of his career in Baltimore (2014).

Miller has long been on record as having an affinity for White. Needless to say, the feeling is mutual.

But it was interesting to hear Miller spout Haskins’ name, and not Drew Lock‘s. On Haskins’ top-30 visit to Denver, he got some facetime with the Super Bowl 50 MVP.

“I got to spend some time with him and hes a pretty cool dude,” Miller saidr. “I like him a lot. If he’s there whenever we pick, my pick is to pick him. But, like I said, I’m not running the show so whoever we get, I’m OK with. I just want to get the best available, and if we do that I’m good with that.”

Von Miller wants to break Hall-of-Famer Bruce Smith’s all-time sacks record, which is 200. With 98, Von is off to a great start but he’d have to continue at a torrid pace and have a long career in order to break Smith’s record.

Fangio clearly has an idea for just how good Miller can be. And he’s not there yet. If he handles his business and minds the nuance, Fangio clearly believes Von has a chance.

The Broncos signed Bryce Callahan to a three-year, $21 million dollar deal last month. He’ll be the team’s nickel cornerback.

But he suffered a foot injury in Chicago last year that derailed his season late, and even though he’s recovered enough to participate in mini-camp, the Broncos are playing it safe. It’s a sacrifice in the short-term in order to cash in long-term.


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