Isaiah Burse knew Denver was interested. The Broncos had been in contact with the former Fresno State receiver leading up to the NFL draft and always were positive.
And it was a good spot for the for Modesto Christian High star. Another call from the Broncos came Saturday, as Denver was nearing its selection in the seventh round on the draft’s final day. He saw the area code, a 303, and thought, “This is it.”
It wasn’t, at least as far as being drafted; the Broncos, who had six picks and a bigger concern on defense, were going to use their last choice on a linebacker.
Such is life over a multiday stretch each year for borderline draft prospects such as Burse and fellow seniors Austin Wentworth and Marcel Jensen.
But soon after, the Broncos were on the line again with Burse and his agents. And as they sorted through free-agent offers and talked with several teams – including Tennessee, Miami and Cincinnati – it was Denver that won out for the services of the 5-foot-10, 188-pounder who also played quarterback and safety as a Crusader.
“Teams were blowing up my agent, saying, ‘We want him, let’s make a deal.’ My agent was negotiating and everything, and Denver was upping them every single time,” Burse said. “That sold me right there. I was, like, ‘Man, they really want me. I’m a Bronco. I want to go to the Broncos.’ My agent agreed. It’s a good spot.
“I can come in right away and learn from Wes Welker and possibly be the starting punt returner right from the get-go.”
Wentworth, an offensive lineman, and Jensen, a tight end, also found good landing spots. Wentworth agreed to a deal with Minnesota and Jensen with Jacksonville.
“I had quite a few (options), I just think I had the best feeling with them,” Wentworth said of the Vikings, “they have great opportunity up there with their offensive line and they were always positive on me, they really wanted me.
“I wasn’t just some random guy. They really recruited me and I think everything just aligned perfectly. They have spots open, they like me and I like them.”
The offensive line was seen as a need for Minnesota, specifically at left guard. The Vikings selected only one lineman with their 10 picks – Stanford guard David Yankey in the fifth round, No. 145 overall. Wentworth projects as an interior lineman in the NFL.
He started at right and left tackle and right guard at Fresno State.
Fresno State, which has won back-to-back Mountain West Conference championships, had only two players taken in the draft, both in the second round. Quarterback Derek Carr went to the Raiders with the 36th overall selection and receiver Davante Adams to Green Bay at 53.
But they put five players onto NFL rosters – all from an offense that last season generated 546.2 yards and 43.4 points per game. They will be heading off to camps in the next few days.
Burse left Sunday morning, bright and early.
“I’m excited to see what happens,” he said. “Just keep working hard and I feel like everything is going to work out, everything will be good.”