The Denver Broncos have kicked off training camp once again as they prepare for the 2016 season. With Super Bowl 50 in the rearview mirror, the team is solely focused on the task ahead. Training camp is a time when players come out of nowhere, fade into the background or solidify themselves as key contributors for this Super Bowl caliber team.
With “Champ Camp” underway, there are several storylines that are going to unfold for us over the course of the next few weeks. Defensive back Lorenzo Doss is certainly a player for fans to watch when attending training camp at UCHealth Training Center.
When the Broncos added Doss with a fifth-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft, I was excited about his prospects in the NFL. During his college career at Tulane, Doss was counted on as a reliable starter and impact player. A former high school wide receiver, Doss used those ball skills on defense to make plays.
Doss has a nose for the football, and he does a good job of diagnosing plays as they unfold in front of him. At Tulane, Doss had 33 passes defensed and 15 interceptions during his three-year career for the Green Wave. He was known for field-flipping plays after getting a pick, and Doss carries himself with the swagger of a shutdown corner.
Measuring in at 5 feet 10 inches and 185 pounds, Doss plays larger than his size. He does a good job of fighting for contested passes, and Doss times his jumps to make a play on the ball at its highest point.
He’s not the fastest corner, but Doss does a good job of changing direction without losing much speed. That allows him to stay with receivers downfield after they break on their route. Doss has good hip swivel and transitions from backpedal to sprint smoothly.
It’s a three corner league
Today’s NFL is all about winning through the air. Teams are more pass happy on offense than ever before. To counter that, defenses regularly feature the nickel defense instead of the usual base defense. The nickel defense brings a third cornerback on the field in place of an extra linebacker or safety.
The Broncos are currently set with arguably the best trio of corners in the league with Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby. We could see 2016 as the final season Talib is with the Broncos, so the team could need a cornerback, like Doss, to step up in 2017. The team selected Kayvon Webster in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft, but he’s in the final year of his contract and may not get a contract extension. Things are developing where Doss could earn quite the workload next season.
Roby likes the progress he’s seen from Doss in camp this year.
“Doss has done great. He ended last practice with a pick-six. He’s just learning and doing what he needs to do,” Roby said.
The Broncos have done a good job of selecting players in the draft with the future upside to be impact players. In fact, in the later rounds of the draft you could easily say the Broncos are the best team in the NFL at finding quality talent. They may have done it again with a guy like Doss.
Doss is a frequent name that I scribble down in my camp notes each day. He seems to always be around the ball and does a good job of breaking up passes often.
By my count, Doss also has the most interceptions of any Broncos defensive back in training camp so far. Doss has returned two of those interceptions for touchdowns, and he’s a threat to score anytime the ball is in his hands.
Doss explained how he’s able to get those pick-sixes.
“I try to get my hands on the ball as much as I can. I make the plays that come to me and try not to be too aggressive. That’s the thing I key on,” Doss said.
The second-year corner just wants to be consistent every day at Broncos camp.
“I just try to do my job. I try to just come out here and be the best player I can be,” Doss said. “I’m in great condition, so I can run all day. I’m just trying to get seen in each aspect of the game.”
It seems like Doss has learned a lot from watching Harris. Last year his head was swimming as a rookie, but this year he has a greater comfort level on the practice field. Being more comfortable in his role and responsibilities, Doss is playing with more of an edge this year.
Doss loves the competition he gets from the Broncos offense.
“You are out there playing with the best of the best. You have to hold your weight, and that’s what I try to do. I try to come out, make tackles and play the deep balls. I just try to do my job,” Doss said. “Playing with these safeties, linebackers and d-line, I know they are going to give it their all. I just have to play my technique.”
The second-year corner knows he has a lot to prove in camp each day.
“I’m just trying to get better and work on my technique. I’m listening to the older guys like Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Roby and Kayvon,” Doss said. “Those are they guys who have been in the situation. I’m just trying to grind and get better each day.”
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