Duke receives all-pro support early in career


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Jan 22, 2006
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Duke receives all-pro support early in career
By Bill Williamson
Denver Post Staff Writer

Antonio Gates was relaxing in his hotel room at Indianapolis the night before a San Diego Chargers game there last December when he found himself feeling like a proud uncle.

He saw tight end Wesley Duke make good on his first play from scrimmage in the NFL. Duke used his college basketball skills, leaping high in the back of the end zone for a touchdown catch in Denver's victory at Buffalo on Dec. 17.

"What a first catch in the NFL," said Gates, San Diego's Pro Bowl tight end. "I've been following Wesley, and that was a great moment. The kid has a real chance."

Gates and Duke have a few things in common. Like Gates, Duke played college basketball rather than college football. Like Gates at the start of his career, Duke is being coached by Tim Brewster.

"It's a very strange connection," Gates said. "Wesley is in good hands. Coach Brewster kick-started my career, and I really think he can do great things for Wesley as well."

Gates and Brewster talked during the past week at the Pro Bowl. Duke is preparing to play in NFL Europe this spring.

High on Jackson

The Broncos are likely to search for a speedy pass rusher in the offseason, but it is an expensive position in free agency and it's a difficult talent to find in the draft.

Some members of the organization believe the Broncos already possess a potential standout speedy rusher in Corey Jackson, who spent last season on the practice squad.

Jackson, who played sparingly in college, was a star in NFL Europe and improved steadily last season. At 6-feet-7, 260 pounds, Jackson has a chance to develop quickly.

"He can be a difference-maker," Denver Pro Bowl linebacker Al Wilson said. "I really think that. He can be special. He's a guy who can fill a role for us."

Other young players who'll get a serious look in minicamps and in training camp include practice squad running back Cedric Cobbs and offensive lineman P.J. Alexander, who was injured all last season.


The Broncos are negotiating with defensive end John Engelberger, whose contract voided. He is likely to re-sign before free agency begins March 3.

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