Broncos Elevate RB Damarea Crockett, CB Nate Hairston to Week 1 Gameday Roster

Broncos Elevate RB Damarea Crockett, CB Nate Hairston to Week 1 Gameday Roster

The Denver Broncos are in New York to kick off the season with a Sunday bout vs. the Giants on deck. As is the team’s prerogative, the Broncos announced Saturday that running back Damarea Crockett and cornerback Nate Hairston have been elevated from the practice squad to the gameday roster. 

This new rule was created in the wake of the pandemic and it allows teams to temporarily ‘elevate’ two practice-squad players on gameday, making them available to play on Sunday, before being sent back down to the practice squad after the final gun. 

Each practice-squad player can be ‘elevated’ twice and sent back down twice — without the team having to risk exposing them to the waiver wire. However, the third time a team ‘elevates’ a practice-squad player, the onus falls on the club to either keep them on the active roster (and thereby have to waive someone else), or else cut them and hope an outside team doesn’t claim them off waivers. 

Crockett (5-foot-11, 225 lbs)is a first-year player out of Missouri who first joined the Broncos’ practice squad last October. This past August, he finished as Denver’s leading preseason rusher, totaling 114 rushing yards on 34 carries (3.4 avg.). He has yet to appear in a regular-season game.

Crockett joins a talented running back stable featuring starter Melvin Gordon III and rookie second-rounder Javonte Williams. Whilst Mike Boone heals up from his preseason injury, the Broncos could use Crockett’s special-teams impact. Don’t expect to see him take a hand-off from Teddy Bridgewater on Sunday unless something unfortunate were to happen to the top-two backs. 

Hairston (6-foot-0, 185 lbs) is a fifth-year corner from Temple who joined the Broncos’ practice squad mid-December and went on to appear in three regular-season games for the Broncos in 2020. He’s notched 93 tackles (75 solo), two sacks, two interceptions, and nine passes defensed in 43 regular-season games (17 starts) after spending time with Indianapolis (2017-18), the New York Jets (2019-20), and the Broncos (2020).

The Broncos will lean on Hairston to also contribute on special teams. The team’s cornerback depth chart is deep and talented but if head coach Vic Fangio has cause to turn to him, it’s because he’s earned some trust as a slot corner with a little boundary acumen to boot. 

Among the other new-fangled practice-squad rules, the Broncos get to keep 16 players there, four of which can be ‘protected’ each week from outside teams being able to sign them. The other 12 guys on the squad can be signed by outside NFL teams. 

This week, the Broncos protected Crockett and Hairston, as well as quarterback Brett Rypien and wideout Tyrie Cleveland. 

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