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ENGLEWOOD Hunter Henry Jersey , Colo. (AP) Rookie receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton are the Denver Broncos‘ new safety valves, applying the pressure but also relieving the burden on veterans Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders .

”Those two guys, they came in like pros, they’re taking care of their business, they’re on time to everything, they’re making plays,” Thomas said Friday. ”So, they’re pushing us. And that’s good for us. We need it. We want to push each other and make each other better.”

While Sutton has made a splash at training camp so far with daily highlight-reel catches and Hamilton has drawn his share of applause, Thomas and Sanders are quietly having very good camps themselves.

Thomas’ stats have steadily declined every season since his peak in 2014, and his streak of five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons ended last year when he finished 51 yards shy.

Sanders dealt with injuries and his two TD catches were his fewest since 2012.

Part of the problem in 2017 was that the Broncos had nobody around them – a third receiver, a tight end, a running back – who could really force teams to quit bracketing Thomas and Sanders.

That’s no longer the case .

In addition to Sutton and Hamilton, the Broncos added rookie running backs Royce Freeman, David Williams and Philip Lindsay (undrafted) along with another Big Ten tight end in Troy Fumagalli to go with Jake Butt, who missed his rookie season last year while recovering from knee surgery.

Sutton, Hamilton and Fumagalli are members of general manager John Elway’s already-celebrated draft class of 2018 that featured experience – all 10 players spent four years in school – and leadership – most were captains in college.

Safety Justin Simmons said he’s just like all the fans whooping and hollering at practice – he’s energized by and excited about the Broncos’ rookies.

”Oh, for sure. Especially Chubb,” Simmons said of first-round pick Bradley Chubb Jim Plunkett Jersey , whose ability to chase down quarterbacks ”makes my job 50 times easier.”

Sutton’s making his job harder.

”Oh yeah, Sutton’s been great. He’s been out here making plays,” Simmons said. ”He’s just another guy that’s just humble and hungry, coming in here ready to work.”

That’s been the theme of this year’s draft class, which also includes cornerback Isaac Yiadom, inside linebackers Keishan Bierria, Josey Jewell (who practiced Friday for the first time after pulling a hamstring in June) and guard Sam Jones.

Last season, several veterans took the 2017 draft class, which was filled with raw athleticism and projects, to task for their work ethic, complaining that too many of them came off as entitled.

This year’s class drew quick praise from the veterans.

”There’s no complaining,” defensive end Derek Wolfe said. ”That’s the one thing that you notice from an immature draft class, is that they complain a lot, whine and cry a lot. There’s none of that coming from this group.”

Humble. Hungry.

”It’s a mature class,” coach Vance Joseph said. ”It’s been seven or eight guys that have shown they can help us win.”

Sutton’s doing it with spectacular plays every day, and Hamilton’s sprinkling in his share, too.

”I’ll tell you what, we’ve got some good rookies,” Sanders said. ”I was just over there with my family and Courtland just runs over to say William Hayes Jersey , `Hey, I’m going to take your helmet.’ And that’s what we need.”

Players willing to pay their dues but eager to make their mark.

Also turning heads is Chubb, the fifth overall pick in the draft who reminds defensive tackle Domata Peko Sr. of superstar Von Miller .

”He’s quick, he’s strong and he can get to the passer. He’s disruptive and he’s willing to learn,” Peko said after getting his first glimpse of the 2018 class. ”He’s always talking to Von and asking, `Hey, what can I do?’ That’s good to see out of a rookie.”

Peko also singled out Sutton and Jewell as players he’s thrilled to play alongside.

”These guys are going to make a difference for us,” Peko said. ”They’re only going to help our team. I love our new guys.”

Notes: Simmons said the league’s new helmet rule was going to be the main topic when players meet with NFL officials visiting the Broncos to go over the new rule changes. … On the sixth day of training camp, QB Case Keenum was finally intercepted, by S Will Parks. ”He’s human,” Joseph said. … The Broncos signed WR Bryce Bobo, a rookie from Colorado, and designated WR Kenny Bell as waived/injured.




METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata is no longer an intriguing international prospect with unknown potential.

The native Nigerian, who learned American-style football as a college student in Canada, is entering his third NFL season as an established starter upon whom the Saints are increasingly comfortable relying to plug up rushing lanes or make quarterbacks uncomfortable when they drop back to pass.

“We certainly look at him that way,” Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen said after practice on Monday evening. “He’s established himself as a starting caliber defensive lineman in our league and he’s certainly going to be a big part of what we’re trying to get accomplished this year.”

Onyemata, 25, always looked the part at 6-foot-4 Ryan Quigley Jersey , 325 pounds. That’s a big reason the Saints decided it would be worthwhile to use a fourth-round draft choice on him in 2016.

But Onyemata never envisioned an NFL playing career when he went to college in western Canada. He was there to study, and took up football because he was looking for an interesting way to diversify his college experience outside the classroom. He’d played soccer growing up, and was ready to try something new that perhaps suited his body type.

Ultimately, his academics-first approach to college — he earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science — might have aided his adjustment to the NFL.

“For a guy that had played as little football as he had, there was some terminology things that he had to learn … but I wouldn’t say that was any slower than it was for maybe any other rookie that we’ve had,” Allen recalled. “So I think that’s one of the things that’s allowed him to be maybe as productive for us as he has, is that he is smart and learns really well. He’s not a repeat-mistake offender.”

Onyemata played in all 16 regular season games in 2017, starting the last six. He had 40 tackles, two sacks and one batted pass.

This past offseason, Onyemata took some time to return home in March to see family and friends in Africa, but also spent a lot of time in Baton Rouge, working with long-time defensive line coach Pete Jenkins on more nuanced aspect of his position, such as his initial movements at the snap and how to use his hands to improve leverage.

“Just having the mindset to get better and work on things you’re not good at — that has been the goal,” Onyemata said, adding that he now has a strong command of New Orleans’ defensive scheme and the terminology used to call it. “You know what they’re asking you to do and you know what they’re expecting you to do, so you just go out there and do your job.”

Saints center Max Unger was in his second season in New Orleans in 2016 and has witnessed Onyemata’s evolution as a football player up close.

“The accent’s still there,” Unger said, but quickly added, “He’s becoming Michael Pierce Jersey , I think, the player that a lot of people thought that he was going to be and it’s impressive to see his development, especially coming down from Canada and not having a lot of football under his belt.

“It’s tough to go against, honestly,” Unger continued. “I mean, look at him. He’s a big, fast, physical guy that just needs to play as much football as he can. Again, it’s a big jump to come into this league and I think that he has progressed pretty rapidly.”

Unger said Onyemata’s growth is evident in his awareness of what offenses are trying to do and how to defend it.

“You can be fast, you can be physical, but not knowing where the ball is, as a D-lineman, I guess is half the battle,” Unger said, adding the Onyemata is also better at disguising his own intentions before the snap. “All of those things, he’s showing pretty rapid improvement in.”

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