ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A lot has changed on the Denver Broncos' roster in recent weeks.
Four consecutive playoff misses, three consecutive losing seasons and a decided lack of touchdowns will do that to a team.
But following free agency and the NFL draft it sounds like at least part of the Broncos' plan at cornerback remains the same. Last season, a big part of the plan rested on Bryce Callahan's surgically repaired foot, and a big part of the plan for whatever becomes of the 2020 season will still rest on Callahan's surgically repaired foot.
Callahan was signed to a three-year, $21 million deal last year to be a starter. He has a built-in knowledge of Vic Fangio's defense given Callahan's four years with the Bears while Fangio was the team's defensive coordinator. But Callahan limped off the field during a July scrimmage and did not play a down during the 2019 season. He eventually had a screw replaced in November, taking the place of the original screw that had been inserted in December 2018 to repair a fracture.
"It sounds like he’s coming along," Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway said before the draft. "... We're hopeful that things are coming along and he'll be ready by the time we get to training camp and then work back into things. We're hoping that Bryce can come back, play this year and play the way we think he's capable of."
The Broncos did acquire A.J. Bouye in a trade this offseason, and he will likely man the starting cornerback job vacated by Chris Harris Jr., who departed in free agency. Bouye had 50 solo tackles and an interception last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Last season Harris, with 1,073 snaps played, was one of only two Broncos defenders to play more than 880 snaps, just behind safety Justin Simmons' 1,081. That's a lot of playing time Bouye will be expected to fill on one side of the defense, with plenty of questions surrounding the rest of the depth chart looks.
"Everything's open," Fangio said. "Competition is there. We'll play the guys that deserve to play regardless of the year, whether they are a rookie, veteran or in between."
Speaking of rookies, the Broncos used one of their 10 draft picks on a cornerback. Iowa's Michael Ojemudia was one of the bigger cornerbacks available in the draft at just over 6 feet tall and 200 pounds as he also ran a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. Ojemudia has a chance to push for at least some situational work immediately given his size, speed, experience -- 51 games with the Hawkeyes -- and an awareness scouts have seen in his game.
"Well the first thing I liked when we were watching him was just the way he played," Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. "... He showed good instincts, had a good feel for the game. He runs well. He's got some length, a good tackler."
The Broncos have four other cornerbacks -- Isaac Yiadom, Duke Dawson Jr., De'Vante Bausby and Davontae Harris -- who each started games for them last season during Callahan's absence as the team tried to find the right combination.
Fangio said he believes at least two of those four players will emerge in the coming weeks and months, and that would help push a lot of the question marks away.
"Those guys all need to develop," Fangio said. "They are at that stage where they need to prove whether they are worthy or not to play in the NFL, and I think two of those guys will come through."