The Denver Broncos used a fifth-round draft pick to select Samford’s Montrell Washington last April.
Washington is a wide receiver by trade, but the Broncos picked him primarily with his return abilities in mind. The 5-10, 170-pound speedster was quickly named the team’s returner, but he did not keep the job.
After five fumbles in 15 games, Washington was benched when Jerry Rosburg took over as interim coach late in the season.
“The whole season has been a learning experience for me to be honest with you,” Washington said last week. “The good, bad and ugly. The returns were good, but the muffs — the muffed kick I had one time when I should have downed it. Just things like that — situational things. The whole season has been a learning experience.”
Rosburg benched Washington, but he didn’t suggest the Broncos should give up on the young returner. Rosburg acknowledged Washington’s talent, and he said the returner can improve.
“I believe everything Coach Jerry says,” Washington said. “I respect the man. Anything coach says I should work on and get better, that’s what I have to do and that’s what I am going to do.”
Washington returned 32 punts for 271 (8.5 yards per return) and 18 kickoffs for 340 yards (18.9 YPR). If he’s going to win back the return job this offseason, Washington will have to show a lot of improvement this summer.