SAN­DERS: FOWLER IS NO. 3 WR NOW

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - — Nick Kos­mider and Nicki Jhab­vala, The Den­ver Post

Among the most no­table, if some­times over­looked, po­si­tional bat­tles at Bron­cos train­ing camp this year is at re­ceiver, as nine play­ers bat­tle for the cov­eted No. 3 spot be­hind vet­er­ans De­mary­ius Thomas and Em­manuel San­ders. Last sea­son, Jor­dan Nor­wood took the third-most snaps at re­ceiver, but his con­tract ex­pired af­ter an up-and-down sea­son.

Head­ing into camp this year, the front-run­ners among ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers were be­lieved to be Cody La­timer, a 2014 sec­ond-round draft pick, and Ben­nie Fowler, an un­drafted Michi­gan State prod­uct. But in the mix, too, were Jor­dan Tay­lor, who earned a ros­ter spot af­ter go­ing un­drafted in 2015, and rook­ies Car­los Hen­der­son and Isa­iah McKen­zie.

Two days into camp, sep­a­ra­tion is al­ready seen.

“I think Ben­nie has that job right now,” San­ders said. “Ben­nie doesn’t want to lose it, but that’s Ben­nie’s job right now to lose if you ask me. He’s the one play­ing in the slot a ma­jor­ity of the time.”

End­ing early.

The Bron­cos ended each of their first two prac­tices af­ter roughly 90 min­utes, about an hour shorter than sched­uled.

The ab­bre­vi­ated ses­sions are by de­sign, first-year Den­ver coach Vance Joseph said.

“We’re go­ing to build on this,” he said. “The first day, we were in the red zone. It was more of first and sec­ond down to­day. Just think­ing about in­jury — ham­strings go­ing early on in camp. While we have a chance to build on this thing, that’s the way to go. We’re prob­a­bly go­ing to add more team pe­ri­ods, prob­a­bly next week when the pads go on. It’s by pur­pose.”

Crab shelves Wolfe.

De­fen­sive end Derek Wolfe was a sur­prise ab­sence dur­ing the first day of train­ing camp Thurs­day.

The cul­prit? An abun­dance of seafood at a team din­ner Wed­nes­day.

“I don’t eat seafood a lot. I saw those crab legs and thought, ‘Oh, I’ll eat as many as I can,’ ” Wolfe said. “Big mis­take. Huge.”

Quotable.

The Bron­cos will put on full pads for the first time Sun­day. Some play­ers are clearly ea­ger to el­e­vate the in­ten­sity.

“I al­ways say, ‘When you put the pads on, that’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween the boys and the men,’ ” San­ders said. “So we’re go­ing to see who the men are.”

Foot­notes.

Mar­cus Rios, an un­drafted rookie from UCLA, in­ter­cepted a pass from third­string quar­ter­back Kyle Sloter on Thurs­day. Fri­day, Rios earned praise from all-pro cor­ner­back Chris Har­ris, who men­tioned Rios as one of the young de­fen­sive play­ers, along with de­fen­sive end DeMar­cus Walker, who have im­pressed early in camp . ... Joseph said nose tackle Do­mata Peko and ends Adam Got­sis and Zach Kerr are play­ers who have stood out on the de­fen­sive line.

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