Broncos WR core is very underrated
By: Jordan Anders
Looking back at the 2020 NFL draft, the Denver Broncos took two wide receivers with their picks in the first and second round. Their first pick was Jerry Jeudy from Alabama, picked 15th in round one, then KJ Hamler from Penn State picked 46th in round 2. Adding depth in the wide receiver core was important last year and after the 2020-2021 season, the two rookies have a promising career in Denver.
After a season-ending injury to the Denver Broncos top wide receiver Courtland Sutton last season, it was up to Tim Patrick and rookies to carry the offense. Combining Patrick’s, Jeudy’s, and Hamler’s experience they got last season with more touches and Sutton’s comeback season he’ll have this year, this group is, unfortunately, being overlooked.
Tim Patrick had a breakout season last year in his third year in the NFL and with the Broncos. As far as the numbers, Patrick caught 86% of his contested targets 20+ yards downfield, first among all wide receivers. After missing half of the 2019 season due to an injury, he came back to lead the Broncos in receiving touchdowns. On top of that, last year he had 0 drops on 74 targets. Patrick had 6 touchdowns and 33 first downs on 742 receiving yards. Tim Patrick not only took a huge jump last season compared to his first two but he stepped up in the absence of Sutton.
With a 4.46 40 yard dash and quite frankly the best route runner in the league, Jerry Jeudy is a star in the making for this team. Connections between Jeudy and Broncos quarterback Drew Lock weren’t the greatest last season, but Jeudy was still able to put up numbers with the targets he got. Jeudy had 52 receptions and 3 touchdowns to combine with 856 receiving yards. This off-season, if Jeudy and Lock work a lot on building their connection and Jeudy can work on not dropping the ball, Jeudy could have an amazing upcoming season.
Out of this wide receiver core, KJ Hamler saw the least amount of time on the field as the others. Despite this, Hamler has 30 receptions and 3 touchdowns on 381 receiving yards, which are great numbers for only starting 4 games and playing minutes in only 13 out of the 16 games. Expectations for Hamler going into his second year is for him to keep performing even with the limited minutes and touches, especially with a full performing wide receiver core this season.
Going from a pro bowl year in 2019 to sitting the entire 2020-2021 season to an injury, Courtland Sutton is most certainly itching to get back. There’s no denying the connection that Drew Lock and Sutton had right away in 2019 and the numbers back it up. In 2019, Sutton had 72 receptions, 6 touchdowns, and 50 first downs. He had 1112 receiving yards while averaging 15.4 yards per reception. Courtland Sutton is very underrated as a wide receiver, no doubt he’s coming back better than ever this upcoming season whether he gets the recognition or not.