ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Needing help at defensive back after placing two players on injured reserve in the last month -- safety David Bruton Jr. as the regular season drew to a close and Omar Bolden on Tuesday -- the Denver Broncos signed cornerback Taurean Nixon from the practice squad to the active roster.
Nixon, who was one of the team’s three seventh-round picks in the 2015 draft, takes the roster spot that opened when the Broncos moved Bolden to injured reserve. Bolden suffered a right knee injury in the first quarter of Sunday’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC divisional round game. Nixon has been on the Broncos practice squad all season.
It is a logical choice, given cornerback Chris Harris Jr. is dealing with a left shoulder injury at the moment that limited him, at least some, against the Steelers. Harris is expected to start in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots, but the Broncos wanted to make sure they had enough defensive backs available, both to practice and to potentially play Sunday.
Asked Monday if it made the most sense to promote someone from the team’s practice squad, Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said; “We’ve got to make sure that we’re in position. We’re banged up at a couple of spots. Chris is a little banged up right now, so we’ve got to make sure we cover ourselves from that standpoint, especially for this week. At the same time, too, you’d like to reward some of your young guys that have been working really hard for you all year long.’’
The Broncos have been close to promoting Nixon from the practice squad before this season. In early December, just after the Broncos signed safety Josh Bush, Kubiak said of Nixon; “Nixon is a kid that has been doing a really good job for us that we actually thought about activating this past week.’’
Nixon, who ran track at Tulane, was one of the fastest defensive backs available in the 2015 draft, having run a 4.36 40-yard dash at his pro day workout. It remains to be seen if Nixon will be in uniform for Sunday’s game, but he’ll certainly get some work on defense this week.
For the Steelers game, rookie cornerback Lorenzo Doss, who was Nixon’s teammate at Tulane, was one of the Broncos’ game-day inactives. Doss was a fifth-round pick in the ’15 draft.