Among the surprises from the Denver Broncos first depth chart of the 2018 season, released Tuesday morning, Bradley Chubb starting at strong-side linebacker is likely not one of them.
In fact, head coach Vance Joseph said after practice Tuesday that the team’s been “pleased” with Chubb, whom the Broncos selected No. 5-overall earlier this year, “not just with his physical ability but his football IQ.”
“He’s so smart, and he’s walked in and done a good job for us in the pass game, the run game, with the pressure,” Joseph said. “He’s earned that right, right now.”
But a smattering of rookies scattered among the first- and second-teams might make for a pleasant surprise coming from the 2018 draft class.
With Chubb, undrafted college free agent Phillip Lindsay earned a starting spot as a kick returner.
And cornerback Isaac Yiadom, middle linebacker Josey Jewell, center Sam Jones, wide receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton, and running back Royce Freeman all land on the second-team.
Joseph said he’s been “impressed” by the class, which he said was “very mature” and good in the classroom.
“That’s important when you’re talking about pro football,” Joseph said. “It’s a lot of volume, and it’s a complicated game. Those guys have learned quickly as far as the football IQ part of it.”
In addition, second-year pro Jake Butt — essentially in his first NFL season after spending much of his rookie campaign on injured reserve — sits behind starting tight end Jeff Heuerman, who has been out for much of training camp with an injury.
Joseph said Tuesday that he’s hopeful Heuerman can return this week and that “he’s doing well.”
“He’s progressing, and hopefully he’s back this week,” Joseph said.
Other notes from the depth chart release:
» Devontae Booker remains the starter for the Broncos out of the gate, followed by rookie Royce Freeman and second-year pro De’Angelo Henderson.
Joseph said running back room is “very fluid” and the depth chart could change several times, but Booker is the “lead guy” because of his experience.
» Wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie will return punts with fellow wideout Jordan Taylor on the physically unable to perform list.
» From left to right, the Broncos offensive line is as follows: Garett Bolles, Ron Leary, Matt Paradis, Connor McGovern, and Jared Veldheer.
» Shaquil Barrett and Shane Ray sit behind Chubb and Von Miller at the outside linebacker positions.
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.
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