Broncos 3rd-Round Pick Reveals Past History With New Teammate

Drew Sanders

Getty New Broncos LB Drew Sanders has an interesting football history against one of his current teammates.

The Denver Broncos’ first two 2023 draft picks never faced off in college football, but they have a connection that goes back even further.

In a May 13 interview with local media, new Broncos linebacker Drew Sanders said he faced fellow Broncos draftee wide receiver Marvin Mims in high school football.

“I played him (Mims Jr.) in the semifinal game my senior year of high school,” Sanders said. “He’s always been a great player, always been somebody I knew of.”

In that 2019 5A Texas State semifinal matchup, Sanders’ Ryan High School took down Mims Jr.’s Lone Star High School by a score of 35-7.

At the time, Mims Jr. was a four-star prospect, while Sanders was a five-star. In 2020, they went on to play NCAA football at Oklahoma and Alabama, respectively, with Sanders eventually transferring to Arkansas in January 2022.

After sustaining early-career success in high school and Division I, Sanders and Mims Jr. are eager to prove themselves on the professional level – this time as teammates.

Mims Jr. said it feels surreal that he and Sanders will now don the same uniform.

“I can’t talk any trash on the way that game went,” Mims Jr. said with a laugh in a May 13 interview. “Drew is an unreal athlete. I mean, he’s looked like that since senior year in high school. The dude is unbelievable. But just to come here, it’s such a small world. Both of us getting drafted here, I mean, it’s weird how things worked out.”

Drew Sanders Acknowledges NCAA to NFL Transition

Sanders made a big impression during rookie minicamp in mid-May by picking off quarterback Ben DiNucci. That play led to a comment by head coach Sean Payton that went viral on social media.

That interception might just be a slight preview of Sanders’ potential, however.

The 2022 All-American proved at Arkansas that he can thrive in various roles. Sanders showed off his versatility last season by lining up at both middle linebacker and edge rusher.

Sanders notched 103 total tackles, including 13.5 for a loss and 9.5 sacks. He also forced three fumbles, caught an interception and broke up six passes.

While he acknowledged that he anticipates on playing more middle linebacker than edge at the pro level, Sanders said he’s willing to contribute in any role.

“I’m going to do whatever they tell me to do,” Sanders said during minicamp. “I can get after the quarterback, drop back in coverage and play the run. I kind of feel like I bring a versatility aspect to the position and I can get the job done.”

For any rookie, transitioning to the pros is an adjustment. But despite being introduced to a brand new scheme, coaching staff and teammates, Sanders said he’s enjoyed the process so far.

“It’s all kind of going by pretty fast,” Sanders said. “A lot of stuff happening, a lot of adjusting going on. But like I said, I’m having a great time.”

All Broncos Rookies on Contract

9News’ Mike Klis tweeted on May 17 that Sanders signed a rookie contract for four years valued around $5.7 million, with an additional signing bonus of $1.17 million. Sanders’ deal was made official on the same day it was announced, meaning all of the Broncos’ picks from the 2023 draft class have officially signed with the team.

Since he was the Broncos’ earliest pick (Round 2, No. 63), Mims Jr. earned the biggest rookie deal. Klis confirmed that Mims Jr. inked a four-year contract worth more than $6 million and about a $1.4 million signing bonus on May 16.

The University of Oklahoma’s official Twitter account even posted Mims Jr. wearing his new number (No. 83) in an orange and blue uniform. Mims Jr. donned No. 17 as a Sooner.

Sanders and Mims Jr. got their first chance to meet and practice alongside their veteran teammates for the first time on May 23, as organized team activities began.

Beyond the financial aspect, however, Sanders said he’s enjoyed his time back on the football field.

“I’m pretty excited just to get back to football,” Sanders said. “I’m just having a blast.”

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