Coming off a 5-12 season, the Denver Broncos were easily the NFL’s most disappointing team in 2022.

The addition of superstar quarterback Russell Wilson was supposed to reignite a dormant Denver offense. Instead, the former Seattle signal-caller failed to adapt in the Mile High City.

Playing behind an offensive line that gave up a league-high 63 sacks, Wilson posted career lows in quarterback rating and passing touchdowns as the Broncos ranked as the worst scoring offense in the league (16.9 points per game).

The Denver front office upgraded Wilson’s protection through free agency. They signed former San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey and ex-Baltimore Ravens guard Ben Powers on long-term deals.

Through the draft, Denver picked up Marvin Mims Jr., a dangerously quick wideout from Oklahoma. The team also added defensive depth in third-round picks Drew Sanders (LB from Arkansas) and Riley Moss (CB from Iowa).

The team made some noise by signing 15 undrafted free agents.

One player of note from this group is Alex Palczewski. The offensive lineman from Illinois tied the FBS record with 65 career starts. He was an AP Third Team All-American last year while not allowing a sack.

Palczewski can play guard or tackle and offers the savvy and technique you would expect from such an experienced player.

The Broncos gave him a $20,000 signing bonus — the highest among their undrafted free agents. This suggests the franchise believes he has a good shot at making the team.

While Palczewski has decent odds of staying in Denver, another undrafted free agent might have an even better chance of making the Broncos’ roster.

Undrafted free agent who will make Broncos roster

Jaleel McLaughlin (RB), Youngstown St

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The running game was an area of concern last year for the Broncos. Six different backs carried the ball at least 20 times. Of that group, only Javonte Williams is still on the team in 2023.

Williams is still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in Week 4 and is shooting for a return to the field during training camp.

Denver added Samaje Perine, a useful runner and receiver during his time with the Cincinnati Bengals. But the competition for the third running back spot is wide open.

Tony Jones Jr. had 10 total carries last year with the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, while Damarea Crockett had three carries for Denver as a rookie in 2021 before missing all of 2022 with an ACL tear.

Neither makes a convincing case to be the third stringer in Denver.

Enter Jaleel McLaughlin. With 8,155 career yards, McLaughlin is the all-time leading NCAA rusher in any division.

He began his career at Notre Dame College — a Division II school near Cleveland, OH — where he rushed for more than 2,400 yards in each of his first two years.

McLaughlin then transferred to FCS school Youngstown St. While there, he recorded a pair of 1,000-yard seasons and twice earned All-American status.

At the Youngstown St pro day, the 5-7, 187-pound back ran a blistering 4.42-second 40-yard dash and was expected to be a late-round pick.

Per NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein, McLaughlin is a “dual threat back, who relies on his burst, wiggle, and speed to stack up yardage and touchdowns.”

Given his small stature, there are well-founded concerns about McLaughlin’s ability to block in pass protection and break tackles.

But if he can prove his worth as a runner, receiver, and returner, Jaleel McLaughlin could be one of the biggest steals in this year’s undrafted free-agent class.