SEATTLE -- Music is on my mind. Landing in Seattle has that effect. The PA system in the Sea-Tac terminal features voice overs from Guns N' Roses and Alice and Chains.
A fitting lead to this story should involve Pearl Jam or Nirvana. Instead, I fall back to Eminem roaring, "Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say. ... And they act like they forgot about Dre."
Lost in the confetti of clicks and headlines about second-round pick Drew Lock, Dre'Mont Jones has quietly been the Broncos' best rookie along with starting left guard Dalton Risner. Playing in the Ohio stadium where he played his first high school scrimmage, Jones posted three tackles, including one for a loss, in his debut last Thursday. He provided inside push and pressure, something the Broncos have lacked on a consistent basis since Malik Jackson departed as a free agent.
No one should overreact to one game, but Jones' performance lined up with his practice work, giving it roots. Coach Vic Fangio singled out Jones after the 14-10 victory over Atlanta, saying he "played well." Teammate Bradley Chubb was not surprised.
"I love Dre’Mont. He’s one of those guys that came in as a rookie and he gets it. I feel like a lot of guys -- even me, I was a little lost. But I feel like he gets it right away," Chubb said this week. "I feel like he was first-round talent that fell to the third round. So, we got lucky. But he’s been great out here in the preseason. He was doing his thing against the Falcons. So, I hope he just continues to get better each and every day."
Jones, who blossomed into a star at Ohio State, especially after the injury to Nick Bosa, has remained humble during camp. He's often seen carrying teammates' helmets or talking with them about how to improve.
"I am out there just trying to produce as much as I can. It's a heavy rotation of defensive lineman, a group that's deep and talented," said Jones, who admitted he became emotional before his first game. "Whatever I do out there, I don't do alone. I am the baby out there. I have (Derek) Wolfe, (Adam) Gotsis, and (Shelby) Harris giving me pointers after every play and series."
Running back Khalfani Muhammad also made an impression against the Falcons. He is a 5-foot-7, 174-pound mosquito, hard to swat. He led the Broncos with 74 total yards, 50 on the ground, including a 3-yard score. His chance of making the team nosedived with the addition of Theo Riddick -- he has $1 million guarantee as part of his one-year deal -- but Muhammad remains worth watching as someone who could land on special teams or the practice squad.
"I saw that hole and I hit it. The line executed perfectly," Muhammad said of his touchdown. "I am just trying to show the coaches me. That's all you can do, is showcase what you can do. All I need is an opportunity."
Juwann Winfree received plenty of chances, and will likely continue to do so as he battles for one of the final receiver spots. Oft-injured at CU, Winfree has showcased talent that suggests he is an NFL player. Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. sees Winfree as "someone who can help us." Winfree had one catch for 15 yards, a touchdown on a deflection, making up for a first-half drop.
"It's crazy, my first catch in college was a touchdown, too. I want to continue to make those plays routine," Winfree said. "It was huge for my confidence. I need to continue to help the team and do my job."