The Denver Broncos signed their third, and fifth-round draft picks to four-year contracts, Thursday afternoon. Brendan Langley, a 6-foot-1 cornerback from Lamar University, agreed to a $3.2 million deal that includes a $700,000 signing bonus and Jake Butt, a 6-foot-5 tight end received a $300,000 signing bonus as part of his $2.7 million contract.
At Lamar, Langley modeled his game after Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr., Bradley Roby and Patrick Peterson. In Denver, Langley will watch film with and receive advice from all but Peterson.
Langley was a four-star recruit out of high school, with scholarship offers from Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn, among others. Langley elected to remain in his home state, signing with the University of Georgia. He started four games for the Bulldogs as a true freshman before transferring to a five-year-old football program at FCS-level Lamar.
Langley played receiver early on at Lamar, returning to defensive back after a few weeks. Langley broke up seven passes and intercepted six more in his first-team All-Southland Conference senior season. He also returned two punts for touchdowns.
Langley projects as a physical, athletic cornerback with the potential to be an impact returner. Langley's ceiling is similar to Talib. Langley has the same build, combine stats and mentality as the All-Pro cornerback. If he has the same work ethic as Talib and can refine his technique, Langley could be one of the steals of the draft.
Prior to tearing his ACL in a one-point Orange Bowl loss to Florida State, Jake Butt was a borderline first-round pick. He quickly fell down draft boards after the injury and was selected by the Broncos with the first pick in the fifth round. The latest reports project a return to the field in August or September.
Butt's stats at Michigan are nothing special, he caught 46 passes for 546 yards and four touchdowns his senior season, but his game should translate to the NFL fairly seamlessly.
Butt is primarily a receiving tight end who needs to work on his run blocking. Butt won't burn past defenders, but he should be valuable in the red zone, as he has a big body and a knack for finding gaps in zone coverage.
The Michigan product's immediate production depends on how quickly he can recover from his knee injury. Even if he is physically available to play in the opener against the Chargers, he may be too far behind mentally after being sidelined for most of the offseason. If he is a full participant by the end of training camp, Butt may steal some playing time from the lackluster veterans above him on the depth chart.
Three more rookie contracts are expected to be announced Thursday by the Broncos. Rookie orientation begins Thursday and runs through the weekend.