ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Introductions between Lorenzo Doss and Taurean Nixon weren’t necessary at the Denver Broncos’ rookie minicamp this weekend.
The pair of 187-pound cornerbacks played football and ran track together at Tulane, and both were chosen in the later rounds of the NFL draft.
Doss, a former St. Augustine standout, is a ball hawk; he had 15 interceptions in three years for the Green Wave.
“He is an athlete,” Nixon said. “He is one of those guys that’s ball-hungry. If the ball is in the air, Lorenzo will come down with it. Being a receiver before he was a cornerback makes him a great cornerback because he goes and gets the ball.”
Nixon, a former Southern Lab standout who started his college career at Memphis, is a speedster; he ran the 100 meters in a blazing 10.5 seconds.
“You (aren’t) going to run by him because he’s got 4.3 speed and he hits like a train,” Doss said. “He can do it all. He can cover; he’s the fastest guy on the field, and then he can come up and play the run game.”
The Broncos have three Pro Bowlers in their defensive backfield already, but that didn’t keep them from selecting Doss in the fifth round or Nixon in the seventh.
General Manager John Elway said Doss “has tremendous ball skills and cover skills” and Nixon “is a guy that’s tough, can really run. ... So those (are) two good players that can come in here and compete for a job.”
Despite their age difference — Nixon is 24, Doss 21 — they hit it off as soon as Nixon transferred to Tulane in 2012. Their chemistry quickly developed on the football field and the track, where they ran the 4x100 relay together.
“Doss actually gave me the stick,” Nixon said. “He was on third leg, and I was fourth.”
After sitting out a season, Nixon compiled 44 tackles and an interception in two seasons at Tulane. Those numbers paled in comparison to Doss’, but so did the stats of most other defensive backs selected in the NFL draft.
The only DB drafted last weekend that picked off more passes in his college career than Doss was Senquez Golson, Pittsburgh’s second-round pick. He had 16 interceptions in four years at Ole Miss, including 10 his senior season.
Doss had 126 tackles and two dozen pass breakups to go with his 14 interceptions in college, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
When the Broncos drafted Doss, Nixon called to congratulate him, and Doss returned the favor a couple of hours later.
“As soon as I saw his name across the TV, I called him because that’s the type of relationship that we have. We’re tight,” Doss said. “We just always have been like that as soon as we both came to Tulane.”
The odds are long for two college teammates who played the same position to get drafted by the same NFL team.
“It’s a blessing,” Doss said. “I thank the organization for it.”
Nixon said his father had a premonition it would happen that way.
“My dad always said, ‘I have a feeling that you and Lorenzo will end up on the same team together,’ ” Nixon said Saturday as the Broncos concluded their three-day rookie minicamp. “Everybody thinks I’m playing when I say that, but it really happened. When I got the call from Denver and they said there were going to draft me, and I knew that Lorenzo got drafted by them before me, it was like, ‘Wow.’ My whole house went crazy.
“Two Tulane guys are going to be in Denver together.”