Broncos’ Isaac Yiadom competes for No. 3 cornerback job in training camp
Amid a training camp battle for the No. 3 cornerback job, Isaac Yiadom is keeping tabs on his progress in the notes section on his phone.
There, he writes down a specific goal each day. If achieved, he checks it off. If he doesn’t achieve his set goal, then he writes the same goal for the next day.
It’s part of a focused approach for the third-year pro who realizes he has another big opportunity in front of him after an up-and-down 2019. Yiadom was a Week 1 starter, but lost the job twice during the season before finishing on a high note with starts in the final five games.
“I learned a lot last season,” Yiadom said. “I got the chance to play a few games at the end, and I think I played pretty good. I learned from my mistakes at the beginning of the season. Now, I have another year in this defense and I’m feeling confident about competing and being ready to go (for the Sept. 14 season opener).”
De’Vante Bausby and Davontae Harris, both of whom went through similar growing pains while trying to establish themselves last season, are competing alongside Yiadom on the back end of a cornerback unit that features A.J. Bouye and Bryce Callahan.
“All three of us are really close and we’re all really good friends,” Yiadom said. “At the end of the day we’re competing but also at the end of the day, we want to make each other better… We’re trying to fuel each other because we know the best guy is gonna play.”
Yiadom drew measured praise from Bouye, who was acquired in a trade with Jacksonville in March for a fourth-round pick and is expected to be Denver’s No. 1 cornerback.
“One thing about Ike that I noticed is how big he is in person — he has the length (to be effective),” Bouye said. “He’s definitely going to be aggressive with you. He’s running with every (wideout) that I’ve seen so far.”
Yiadom’s overall goal at training camp is to not give up a deep pass over his head, but Broncos coach Vic Fangio acknowledged there are other areas of his game that need to get better. Last year, Yiadom’s 567 snaps were second among Broncos cornerbacks (Chris Harris had 1,073). Yiadom was flagged six times and missed six tackles.
“Obviously, the job number one of a corner is the ability to cover and we want to see improvement there,” Fangio said. “Corners have to tackle in this league in the run game. He has to improve there and in his overall awareness of what we’re doing on defense and understanding his position and how it relates to what (scheme we’re in).”
Fangio asserted that the 24-year-old “will be a major factor in our defense“ but he said the competition between Yiadom, Bausby and Harris was too close to call through the first third of training camp. Yiadom got the bulk of the first-team reps at the No. 3 cornerback spot on Wednesday, while Bausby also saw some time there and Harris did not practice due to a knee contusion.
“I can honestly say that none of them have pulled away from the other two yet — it’s a real tight battle,” Fangio said. “We’re going to need at least two of those guys to surface and be a good part of this team, and not just be part of the team by default. That’s going to be critical for us.”
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