MOBILE, Ala. – After another great performance at the Senior Bowl, the 5-foot-8 wide receiver with golden locks, stands on the practice field talking to a local reporter. He’s wearing white shoes, white socks, white sleeves, and white gloves, to match his all-white Senior Bowl uniform as a thick array of swag radiates around him.
He’s smiling, he’s confident, and he’s in his element. He tortured the ACC last year, averaging over 12 yards per catch as the Miami Hurricanes had their best season in 15 years, and this week in Mobile was no different.
The first time we noticed Berrios was on a fly route, early on day one. He easily beat the corner, looked up as the ball traveled over 40 yards to find him, jumped and made a spectacular catch while being crushed by a safety as he landed. The ball never moved from his grasp.
He laid on the ground for a few seconds, rolled over, and got up as he was visibly hurt. He slowly trotted back to the huddle and that was the last we heard about it, until Thursday.
“I went up to catch the ball, the safety came over, and I caught a knee to the ribs," the receiver told BSN Denver. “I played that day and then they took me for all these exams and tests and all that.”
While telling that story, Berrios quietly showed me the rib protector that he was wearing. If it was slowing him down at all, it certainly wasn’t noticeable. He has caught almost everything thrown at him this week and has made some of the most memorable plays during that time.
The kid from Raleigh, North Carolina started playing football at the age of seven, and based on his route running, you would assume that he has played receiver the entire time.
“I started out as a quarterback. Then, in high school, I played quarterback and some receiver,” he exclaimed. “I was also the starting free safety and even the punter, but I didn’t play receiver full-time until college.”
As arguably the best route runner at this event, is it just natural for him to get in and out of his cuts like that?
“I guess it is. You know, I study the game and I work a lot on my own,” he said. “My freshman year in college was the first year I was a receiver, you know? I’ve had four years now to perfect my craft but I have to thank god because it is a natural ability.”
One man on the Broncos coaching staff never doubted Braxton Berrios and it’s one of the reasons Berrios is here today. In fact, it may be the sole reason he is on the North Team and it may even be why the Broncos draft the Miami receiver in late April.
The Broncos hired wide receiver coach Zach Azzanni in January to replace long-time position coach Tyke Tolbert, and it just so happened to be the perfect storm for Berrios.
“(Coach Azzani) was the wide receiver coach at Tennessee when they were recruiting me in my senior year,” Berrios said. “I took an official visit there, he offered me a scholarship and we had a great relationship.”
If Berrios didn’t understand how important that impression was then, he does now. He explained his surreal arrival into Mobile to BSN Denver on Thursday.
“When I heard I was on the North team, for whatever reason (smiling), I looked up the coaches and I saw Azzani and I was like, 'Wow what a throwback.'”
Berrios would soon find out “the reason” and it wasn’t by coincidence. The Miami wideout said that when Azzani saw him enter the building, he came up to him immediately and started talking to him. He described the experience as “very cool.”
The Broncos have noticeably spent a lot of time with Braxton Berrios and have given him as many opportunities as any receiver in the camp. He told BSN Denver that he has met with the team and without going into detail said they have had talks.
They clearly like him and the feeling is mutual.
“I like the Broncos coaching staff a lot. I’m starting to build relationships with them and we’ll see where it goes.”
There are lots of players in the draft and there is lots of time to scout them between now and April 27th. Will the Broncos end up selecting this 5-foot-8 slot receiver who can also return kicks and punts? Nobody knows. But if his performance in Mobile is any indication, he's most certainly being considered.