A day-by-day Broncos player breakdown is something we've been doing since our days at BroncoTalk nearly a decade ago. This year the tradition continues as we look at the Denver Broncos roster heading into the 2015 season in our 90-in-90 series.
Name: Cody Latimer
Position: Wide Receiver
Height: 6'2" Weight: 215
Age: 22 Experience: 2nd
Cody Latimer was drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos and instantly became a fan favorite.
Latimer continued to win fans over by having a great Training Camp and continued that success into the preseason. He totaled 5 receptions for 116 yards and had one killer block on San Francisco 49ers safety Antione Bethea.
After that, it went all downhill for the promising rookie. He was a game day inactive for a number of games during season, and only totaled 2 receptions for 23 yards.
Latimer told our own Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann that his rookie season was a "long transitioning year for me", and playing with the great Peyton Manning was quite the challenge for the rookie.
"Peyton has so many checks, and he makes so many calls on the field, you have to be ready. He wants you to be on cue with him, and if you make a mistake, he doesn't like that," Latimer added with a chuckle. "But he sees so much."
Latimer who was used to being the go-to-guy in the offense was frustrated and down on himself because he couldn't fully grasp the Broncos/Peyton Manning offense.
The Broncos veteran wide receivers saw that Latimer was down on himself and they started to help boost his confidence and help him out any way they could.
"They kept me going when I was at practice getting yelled at with people saying I didn't know what I was doing. They said repeatedly, 'Your time will come,' " Latimer said. "They said I had it in me, that I have to go out there and show the world. Part of my grind is making them look good."
Now entering the 2015 season, Latimer has a prime opportunity to earn himself a bigger role in Gary Kubiak's offense.
It all began after the Broncos postseason loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He went to Fit-Speed in Weston, Fla., a sports training facility co-founded by New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall. While there Latimer added muscle, and with his foot full healed his speed returned. This was evident when Latimer joined Peyton Manning and a select few teammates at Duke University to attend Manning's passing camp.
While Demaryius Thomas was absent from these workouts, Latimer earned some valuable reps with quarterback Peyton Manning. This is something that Latimer did not really have last season, and those reps continued throughout OTA's and Minicamp.
Now we're only a few weeks away from the start of Training Camp, and Latimer vows that he is going to do whatever it takes to get on to the field this year.
"I took it as an oath of mine. This year I'm going to get on that field. I'm going to study extra and do whatever I need to do."
Let's hope that he can have a breakout year in 2015. Adding Latimer to and Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders will give Peyton Manning another season of multiple playmaking targets at his disposal.
Well, there's a lot to like with Cody Latimer.
He has the size(6'2", 215lbs), he has the speed(4.3 speed), and he has the strength and physicality to be a force on offense. Add in his already very good run blocking skills, the Broncos could have a well rounded young offensive playmaker.
Another positive is the addition of Gary Kubiak. Last season Latimer had issues picking up Adam Gase/Peyton Manning's offense and didn't get on the field because of it. Latimer believe's that Kubiak's offense is simpler and easier to pick up.
"It's much easier to catch on. It gives you time to play fast; you don't have to think so much," Latimer said. "Not as many adjustments in this offense. Once you know what you're doing out of the huddle, you stick with that. No changing on the run."
The absence of Demaryius Thomas has benefited Latimer the most this offseason. He has attended Manning's passing camp at Duke and took Thomas's reps during OTA's and Minicamp. These were some valuable reps for Latimer, and he should have no trouble picking up the Broncos offense this year.
Oh yeah, did I mention that Latimer is a great blocker?
Latimer took out San Francisco 49ers safety Antione Bethea on this play with a nasty run block. With Gary Kubiak a more run-oriented offense, his run blocking skills could help him see some more playing time.
Here are the positives I listed in my scouting report of Cody Latimer last year.
- Frame: Latimer has a thick, athletic frame that you like to see your receiver have. Latimer is strong too, benched 23 reps at the combine
- Athleticism: Latimer ran a sub-4.5 40 time at his pro day, and can get YAC.
- Hands: Latimer has big soft hands that help him make tough catches. Latimer dropped 1 pass on 119 targets in 2013.
- Press beater: Has the strength to beat press coverage.
- Run Blocking: Latimer is a willing run blocker. Rod Smith will be at camp harping this to the young rookie.
- Potential: Latimer has all the tools to become a number one receiver in the NFL.
Latimer's rookie season was disappointing. He had a hard time picking up Manning's offense and never hit the field because of this. I'm willing to chalk this up as rookie struggles, but will this continue being an issue this season?
While Latimer is expected to see the field more in 2015, he still might be on the sideline more often than not. Gary Kubiak likes to run a two tight end offense instead of a three-receiver offense. It will be interesting to see if Kubiak will spread it out more this year because of Manning. If not, Latimer could see limited snaps this season.
Other than that Latimer is full of potential.
"I didn't have the opportunity to get on the field because I wasn't doing my job," Latimer said. "This year, they'll know who I am."
Latimer is the favorite to be the number three receiver in the Broncos offense. When the Broncos do go into three-receiver formations, Latimer will move outside and Emmanuel Sanders will move to the slot. However, if Latimer has trouble picking up the playbook once again he could fall down the depth chart, but I believe that's unlikely.