When the Broncos play host to Cincinnati Sunday, those watching will get a chance to see two top-5 picks from the 2011 NFL Draft square off.
Linebacker Von Miller — the 2nd overall pick — has assumed a role in the starting lineup for Denver, and wide receiver A.J. Green — the 4th overall selection — has taken over for the departed Chad Ochocinco as the Bengals’ primary downfield threat.
Cincinnati Head Coach Marvin Lewis, who closely evaluated both prospects leading up to draft day, spent some time talking with the Denver media in a conference call earlier, and he isn’t at all surprised that both rookies are already playing significant roles for their respective teams.
“There were basically two or three players that we felt could come in and make an impact, and two of them will be on the field this week,” Lewis said.
At 6-foot-4 and 207 pounds, Lewis said Green has the size and athleticism to make him the total package at wide receiver.
“He can go under (defenders), he can go over them and he can go through them,” Lewis said of Green. “That’s why we thought that he was such a great prospect.”
Lewis acknowledged he was very impressed with Miller’s abilities as well.
“He could make the same kind of impact as a player,” Lewis said.
Lewis is hopeful that his second-round selection will also have an impact on Sunday’s game, but quarterback Andy Dalton’s status is still uncertain.
Bruce Gradkowski took over for Dalton last week after the rookie signal-caller suffered a wrist injury.
“He’ll be limited in practice today,” Lewis said of Dalton. “He was visiting with our doctors this morning, and they thought that he was progressing well. He’ll throw a very little bit the rest of the day and hopefully be able to go full speed tomorrow in practice. But it’s coming along — the bruise or whatever it is, it’s coming along. It just has to get to the point where they’re comfortable with it.”