It usually bodes well for an NFL team to make its quarterback as comfortable and confident as possible. Sometimes that involves surrounding said QB with familiar faces.
Think back to when the Denver Broncos landed the biggest fish in the history of NFL free agency, signing (then) four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning. Denver’s first order of business? Rekindling its relationship with wideout Brandon Stokley and signing ex-Colts tight end Jacob Tamme to give Manning a couple of guys he knew well.
Perhaps a similar strategy is at play in the Broncos’ decision to sign running Damarea Crockett to the practice squad, as was reported by 9NEWS’ Mike Klis on Thursday.
“Broncos are signing RB Damarea Crockett to practice squad, per source,” Klis tweeted.
We’d known for a couple of days that a deal with Crockett was imminent after news broke earlier this week that the former Missouri Tiger would be visiting the Broncos. After the requisite time to pass through COVID-19 testing, he’s been signed to the practice squad.
The Crockett addition gives second-year QB Drew Lock another familiar role player on offense. As a Mizzou alum, Lock played three years with Crockett in college. Tight end Albert Okwuegbunam was there for two of those years. In Okwuegbunam’s debut as a Bronco last week, fans got to see how his established chemistry with Lock, dating back years, allowed him to hit the ground running in the offense.
With the uncertainty of Melvin Gordon’s future following his DUI arrest last week, the Broncos are hedging at the running back position just in case. Crockett gives the Broncos one additional depth piece in the event that Gordon’s CBA-mandated three-game suspension happens later this season.
Crockett joins Gordon, Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman, and Jeremy Cox in the Broncos’ backfield. Going undrafted out of Mizzou in 2019, Crockett entered the NFL as a college free agent with the Houston Texans.
He competed all through training camp and the preseason but didn’t make Houston’s final roster cut. He was waived in late August, only to sign with the then-Oakland Raiders a few days later.
In mid-October, the raiders waived Crockett and he landed with the Green Bay Packers where he stuck for the duration of the 2019 campaign. At the end of the year, the Packers signed him to a futures contract, keeping him in the embrace of the organization.
Crockett did not make the Packers’ 53-man roster out of training camp this past summer, but he was signed to the team’s practice squad. Less than a week later, he was waived.
The 5-foot-11, 225-pound back languished on the open market until the Broncos came calling. Crockett brings some size and power to Denver’s backfield and left Missouri with 2,252 career rushing yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground. His career rushing average in his three years as a Tiger was 5.9 YPC.
Crockett will turn 23 in December. Next up for the Broncos is a homestand vs. the Kansas City Chiefs in what is expected to be yet another snowy affair for the two division rivals.