Denver uses final day of draft to bolster special teams and build depth behind Kareem Jackson.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Understand, Kareem Jackson just turned 33 and took a 50 percent pay cut to return.
Without much depth behind him, the Broncos used their two, fifth-round draft picks Saturday to take two safeties — Caden Sterns of Texas with selection No. 152 and Indiana’s Jamar Johnson at No. 164.
Both will be expected to play special teams, too.
The Broncos needed depth at the safety position as seldom-used P.J. Locke, another Texas product, and Trey Marshall are the only backups to veterans Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson.
>>Video above: Mike Klis discusses the Broncos’ moves on Day 2 of the NFL Draft
Sterns is a 6-foot-1, 207 safety from Cibolo, Texas who was a three-year starter for the Longhorns. He thought he would be picked earlier.
“The last 24 hours have probably been some of the most stressful moments of my life—just waiting and trying to get that call,” he said. “It was definitely frustrating. To finally get it, a huge relief came over. Also, to get it from Denver, Colorado, that has always been somewhere that I’ve wanted to go. It will be my first time, so I’m really excited to get there, meet the people and be around the city and the team as well.”
His best season was as a freshman in 2018 when he had four interceptions and 62 tackles in 13 games and was named Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. He battled injuries in his next two seasons, while also opting out after 7 games as a junior last season, and had just 1 interceptions over his next 16 games.
“It could be due to the role, and I just wasn’t playing how I should have played,” Sterns said. “I just have to get better, and I will continue to get better.”
The Broncos then took Johnson, who had 42 tackles and four interceptions in his junior season of 2020. The Broncos also have one draft pick the sixth and three in the seventh before they start signing roughly a dozen undrafted free agents.
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