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Broncos' camp question No. 7: Can 3rd-round pick Michael Ojemudia become a top 3 corner?

No OTAs and probably no preseason games won't help the rookie. Yiadom, Harris, Bausby, Dawson, Taylor will also compete for top 3 role along with Bouye, Callahan.

DENVER — High school quarterbacks have been known to convert to defensive back or receiver in college.

Michael Ojemudia is a rare prospect who played linebacker and tight end all four years in high school yet became a four-year cornerback at the University of Iowa.

It took a while for Ojemudia to successfully make the transition. He redshirted his first year at Iowa then was a backup his freshman and sophomore years before he was in-and-out of the Hawkeyes’ starting lineup as a junior.

A lengthy corner at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds who has long arms and wingspan, Ojemudia came on as a full-time starter as a senior at Iowa last year and played well enough for the Broncos to take him with their first of three, third-round draft picks.

After the Broncos acquired Jacksonville veteran A.J. Bouye to replace long-time starter Chris Harris Jr. at one cornerback position, Ojemudia was their next biggest play.

RELATED: Broncos positional look: Cornerbacks

With No. 2 corner Bryce Callahan coming off a missed season because of a foot injury that required two surgeries, the Broncos need a No. 3 who can play.

Which leads to Question No. 7 in our 9 question series as the Broncos get ready to begin training camp with COVID-19 testing on Thursday:

Credit: AP
Iowa defensive back Michael Ojemudia runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


Can third-round draft pick Michael Ojemudia become a top 3 corner back?

It won’t be easy. There was no offseason conditioning or practice time for rookies to develop. It also appears there will not be any preseason games.

Remember, the Broncos used the third round to draft a cornerback two years ago. It was determined after one preseason game that Isaac Yiadom needed more time. And in 2017, the Broncos drafted cornerback Brendan Langley in the third round, and he wound up playing only one game at corner.

Langley is gone but Yiadom is now in his third season and he figures to have the best chance to open the season as the Broncos’ No. 3 corner. He might even start if Broncos head coach Vic Fangio decides Callahan would be best used at his natural nickelback position where he would be limited to 60 percent of the defensive snaps.

RELATED: Pre-entry COVID-19 testing delays start of Broncos training camp

For Ojemudia to start, he better be a heckuva practice player. It’s possible Fangio’s system -- which plays more zone and two-deep safeties than the press coverage, single-high safety defense Yiadom broke in with under coaches Vance Joseph and Joe Woods two years ago -- could help Ojemudia survive.

But if its determined three weeks of padded practice is not enough to get Ojemudia ready to take on the likes of A.J. Brown, Corey Davis or Adam Humphries in the Broncos’ season-opener September 13 against Tennessee, then veterans Yiadom, Davontae Harris, Duke Dawson Jr., De’Vante Bausby and Shakial Taylor will compete.

Nabbing a veteran cornerback off the waiver wire following final roster cuts is also always a possibility. But the Broncos used their No. 77 overall pick on Ojemudia with the idea of him eventually becoming a starter.

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