For Broncos like Bennie Fowler, the preseason most certainly counts

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Yes, it’s only the preseason.

That is the drumbeat of August, whatever happens, good or bad. That it’s only the preseason, that the games aren’t real. It doesn’t mean, however, some things don’t count.

For those trying to carve out a place on a playoff-worthy roster that had 11 players named to the Pro Bowl last January, either in the initial selections or as injury replacements, it all counts for the most hopeful of Denver Broncos hopefuls.

Take wide receiver Bennie Fowler. Fowler, who suffered fractures in each foot during his career at Michigan State, spent the 2014 season on the Broncos’ practice squad after catching the team’s eye in last summer’s training camp as an undrafted rookie.

This summer he finds himself as one of a group of receivers trying to fill the spots on the depth chart behind Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer. There could mean, depending on how the final choices get made, two or three spots remain to be filled.

“I think it is an open competition. Besides D.T., Emmanuel and Cody, the solidified guys, I think everybody has an opportunity,’’ Fowler said. “ … Everybody is competing for those last couple spots.’’

Asked if that meant there was room for him, Fowler said, “I think there's room for everybody.’’

Perhaps not everybody, but at 6-foot-1, 212 pounds, Fowler certainly has the physical profile the Broncos want at the position. And having played at Michigan State, he also blocks at the position in the run game the way the Broncos want as well.

But catching the ball will always be Job 1 for the group and it was Fowler who made the catch of the night in Friday’s preseason opener in Seattle. He made a diving grab up the right sideline to complete a 41-yard pass from rookie quarterback Trevor Siemian.

A preseason flash with just over 10 minutes left in an August game that will quickly be filed away, but one that mattered for him.

“Yeah, I’ve seen it, glad I made the play,’’ Fowler said. “[Been] working on that after practice, always working on that after practice with Emmanuel. Working on the little things and following the ball into my hands. I think the repetitions of practice carried over to the game.

"A lot of friends and a lot of my family reached out to me after the catch. I had some friends and family at the game, so a lot of people hit me up after that.’’