(CBS4) – The Broncos invested two of their top draft picks at the wide receiver position. Here’s how they look with training camp underway.
In the Hunt:
Trinity Benson, 1st season
Fred Brown, 2nd season
Tyrie Cleveland, rookie
DaeSean Hamilton, 3rd season
KJ Hamler, rookie
Kendall Hinton, rookie
Jerry Jeudy, rookie
Zimari Manning, rookie
Tim Patrick, 3rd season
Diontae Spencer, 2nd season
Courtland Sutton, 3rd season
Juwaan Winfree, 2nd season
Top Offseason Moves: Drafted Jerry Jeudy (1st round), KJ Hamler (2nd round), Tyrie Cleveland (7th round)
Projected Starters: Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler
The Broncos threw 16 touchdown passes last year, which was the fewest in the NFL. With the late season emergence of Drew Lock, Denver drafted three wide receivers including Jerry Jeudy in the first-round and KJ Hamler in the second-round.
Jeudy was picked up from Alabama and is a fantastic route runner. He caught 26 touchdown passes with the Crimson Tide last season and is projected to start opposite of Courtland Sutton as the number two receiver.
Hamler has game-changing speed and is an absolute blur in the open field. At 5-foot-8 he is one of the smaller receivers and has to improve with catching the ball as he dropped 12 of his 92 targets last season at Penn State.
Courtland Sutton is now the veteran in the wide receivers room. He blossomed last year leading the team with 72 catches for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns. Sutton also picked up his first Pro Bowl nod.
Reserves: Tim Patrick, DaeSean Hamilton, Diontae Spencer, Juwaan Winfree
The Broncos carried only six receivers out of training camp last year and could bring seven this season. Diontae Spencer saw time at receiver, but he is the special teams ace in the punt and kick return game.
Tim Patrick missed half of last season battling injuries and had 16 catches for 218 yards and no touchdowns.
DaeSean Hamilton played his best football in the final games of the season, grabbing 11 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown in the last two games. He will battle with Patrick for the fourth wide receiver position.
Juwaan Winfree only played three games before an injury cut his rookie season short. He is squarely on the bubble to make the final roster and will be battling for the final roster spot at receiver.
Best Training Camp Battle: Tim Patrick vs DaeSean Hamilton
These two veterans will battle for the fourth receiver position in the lineup, given Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler are expected to be second and third receivers.
Tim Patrick brings his 6-foot-4 frame to the offense and he does a great job making contested catches. In his career, Patrick has caught 39 passes for 533 yards and a touchdown.
DaeSean Hamilton struggled out of the gate dropping a sure touchdown against the Oakland Raiders last season. He rebounded when Drew Lock was inserted into the lineup for the final five games catching 17 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown.
Under the Radar: Zimari Manning
Out of the seven undrafted free agents the Broncos picked up, Zimari Manning from Division II Tarleton State is my favorite. Manning was the Lone Star Conference Male Athlete of the Year and a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, which is awarded to the most valuable player in Division II.
Manning had 68 receptions for 1,462 yards and 22 touchdowns last season with the Tarleton State Texans.
Stats to Know:
– Broncos had fewest touchdown receptions in NFL with 16.
– Team only had 17.6 points per game (28th in NFL)
What They Said: Courtland Sutton on leading the wide receivers’ group
“To be able to take a step back and understand that you don’t understand everything, there are things that you need help and guidance on, we had that when we came into that room. Being able to give that back to the guys that are coming into the room now, it’s awesome to be able to be in a position where we had good leaders who showed us the way.”
BRONCOS TRAINING CAMP: See All Of Justin Adams’ Position Breakdowns