Rookie receiver Demaryius Thomas beat cornerback Champ Bailey for a touchdown in a red-zone drill today. Quarterback Tim Tebow had a good practice after struggling the past few the media have watched. Rookie offensive linemen Zane Beadles and J.D. Walton continued to work with the starting offense.
But of all the rookies so far this offseason, cornerback Perrish Cox might be the most surprising. Cox, a fifth-round pick, has shown good athleticism to go with above average size for the position. he broke up a pass in the end zone during one play in practice and had a reception line of veteran defensive backs ready to congratulate him.
“He’s a rookie like everybody else who’s come in here and he’s made his share of mistakes but he’s also earned, I think, some of the respect of the veterans – there’s some trust that I think he’s probably earned,” Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said.
Although Nate Jones has been working as the third cornerback in the nickel package, Cox has been mixed in with the starting defense when Champ Bailey or Andre Goodman takes a play off.
Cox, Alphonso Smith and Jones seem to be headed towards a competition for two spots as nickel and dime cornerback. Cox was also an exceptional punt returner in college and could fill that role for the Broncos.
Cox slipped in the draft because of character issues, not concerns about his talent, and he has done well for the Broncos so far.
“He’s made mistakes that cost us but he doesn’t usually make the same mistake multiple times which is very important for a young player to learn,” McDaniels said. “I think he goes about his business every day. He’s out there working hard. He’s here early and stays late. He’s trying to find a role in the kicking game as well as competing at both sides at corner. He hasn’t disappointed us in terms of what we thought we were getting.”