As the regular season dawned, Jordan Beck was unemployed and headed for a six-week stint in which he went through eight tryouts.
“It was some kind of world record,” he wanly acknowledged.
But as the season faded, he was one of the Broncos’ leading special teamers, placing himself in position to compete for playing time at linebacker next season.
Beck finished second on the team in total special-teams tackles last season in spite of playing in just 11 games; his 10 stops — eight solo with two assists — placed him just one behind Jamie Winborn.
Like Beck, Winborn was an in-season pickup, and the same kind of opportunity that landed in Winborn’s lap in the final two games of the regular season — a starting slot at weakside linebacker — could be in Beck’s future this coming year.
“(Winborn) and Beck played exceptionally well in the special teams,” Head Coach Mike Shanahan said. “Any time you play great on special teams, we’re always going to look at you in that starting position.”
Most of Beck’s linebacking experience is in the middle, but upon arriving in Denver he said that with time, he could learn all three slots on that line of defense. Grasping them all immediately, however, was an impossibility, leaving him to focus on the special-teams role he effectively performed last season.
“It is realistic to learn the special teams,” Beck said in October, “so I’m hoping to fit right in on special teams, come in and make an impact.”
He certainly did.
“I really believed I still had a lot to offer a team,” Beck said. “I didn’t think I was anywhere near done.”