Broncos Voluntary Minicamp Football

Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II takes part in drills during a voluntary veteran minicamp practice April 26 in Englewood.

ENGLEWOOD — The Broncos had a record-breaking crowd at UCHealth Training Center on Saturday for their fourth day of training camp. 

There were 7,121 fans in attendance for the practice, including several celebrities such as former quarterback Peyton Manning and country music star Kenny Chesney. And those in attendance got a show, as Saturday was certainly the most eventful practice yet. 

Here are the top observations from the day: 

Star of the day: CB Pat Surtain II

Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II has arguably been the best player on the field in the first four days of training camp. Surtain, again, had two big pass breakups, one against receiver Courtland Sutton and another against Tim Patrick — both in one-on-one coverage. 

"I'll go over to him each and every day and say, 'can you let us complete a pass, please?'" offensive coordinator Justin Outten said. 

Surtain looks poised for an All-Pro caliber season after an impressive rookie season last year, totaling 14 passes defensed and four interceptions. And he's impressed the new coaching staff, which believes he's among the best corners in the league.

"It's crazy. It's effortless. He's just a smooth athlete," defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero said. "I think that's one of the qualities of really good players — they just make it look easy. He's definitely in that lane." 

Rookie spotlight: CB Damarri Mathis

Fourth-round draft pick cornerback Damarri Mathis has had a good camp so far, but Saturday was certainly his best day. The Pittsburgh product had a nice pass breakup on receiver Seth Williams during the team drills, staying with Williams stride-for-stride on a go-route down the sideline. 

"I feel like I've been progressing real well," Mathis said. "I feel like coming into OTAs, minicamp and all that, kind of gave us a little kickstart to how it was going to be in camp. But everything's been smooth. I'm just trying to get better and learn as much as I can." 

Mathis could play a key role this season for the Broncos, providing some much-needed depth. Surtain, Ronald Darby and K'Waun Williams will be the team's top three corners with Michael Ojemudia as the likely backup. Mathis could find himself on the field in a special teams role and as a backup corner. 

"Being young, being ready to learn — anywhere I can get in and find my role, that's what I'm going to do," Mathis said. "I'm a team player and when that opportunity comes, I'm going to be ready for it." 

Top highlights: Darby's INT, Washington's TD

The top highlights of the day came on back-to-back plays during one of the final team sessions. 

First, quarterback Russell Wilson was intercepted by Darby, who jumped an out-route as Wilson's intended receiver fell down. And on the very next play Wilson connected with rookie receiver Montrell Washington on a deep touchdown pass with no one near him. Washington was defended by Williams, who left practice injured after pulling up on the play while in coverage. 

A new philosophy: No 7-on-7

Through four days of training camp, the Broncos have surprisingly not had any 7-on-7 drills, instead opting for all team periods. This is unusual as most teams use 7-on-7 to work on offensive and defensive schematics without the lines up front. 

Hackett and his staff said they don't intend on doing any 7-on-7 in training camp as a part of their coaching philosophy. 

"I feel like 7-on-7 is not real football," Evero said. "A quarterback will hold the ball longer, it's not the same lanes in terms of what a quarterback is looking at. I just feel like as much of real football as we can play as possible, that's what I love about what we're doing... To me, that's real football. We're working on things that we're actually going to do." 

Injuries: Williams gets MRI

Williams was the only player to be injured Saturday and is expected to have an MRI on his knee. Williams, who signed with the Broncos in free agency from the 49ers, is the anticipated starter at nickelback this season. 

"We're evaluating him inside," Hackett said after practice. "Going to take a look at him and see what's up."

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