The wide receiver out of Indiana has had an up-and-down, somewhat “non-career” so far as a Bronco, but it’s not as if he’s done nothing.
It’s just that he hasn’t done anything very impressive.
Name: Cody Latimer
Height: 6'2" Weight: 215
Age: 24 Experience: 4
And when you’re a wide receiver for a team that already boasts two of the top wideouts in the game, you’ve got to be able to do something that stands out in order to stay on the team.
Luckily for Latimer, his special teams skills might just be that something. His penchant for hitting a kick returner at full speed have earned Latimer a reputation for being tough, and no doubt that should have our very excitable new special teams coach excited.
We got a hint of this toughness way back in 2014 during a preseason game of Latimer’s rookie year.
You, no doubt, remember the hit.
While Latimer earned some street cred last season with several big special teams plays, he has seemingly improved on that status so far during OTAs and minicamp with impressive catches.
Reports on the practices from Andrew Mason highlighted big plays from Latimer on more than one occasion:
“Latimer had a solid day. During a team period late in practice, he grabbed two consecutive passes from Siemian, including one that saw Siemian loft the ball just beyond the outstretched, leaping attempt of Lorenzo Doss near the left sideline for a 20-yard gain.” (OTAs Day 5)
Touted for his athleticism when drafted three years ago, Latimer has the physical tools to be a threat at the position. He is not afraid of using his vertical leap to get over defenders, and he definitely has no problem fending them off with his size and strength.
Wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert even put Latimer’s skills on record with a recent tweet:
The biggest hurdle for the former Hoosier appears to be the mental game - grasping the playbook and feeling comfortable with his quarterback.
Signs point toward both showing improvement this season and training camp will be the real test.
In his first two seasons, Latimer had a total of eight receptions for 82 yards. Having Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders taking the top two spots automatically on the depth chart, the low production his rookie year wasn’t so surprising, even if a second-round pick. But the fact that he could never climb to #3 or #4 indicates a more likely reason for his lack of playing time early was a lack of trust from Peyton Manning.
Although as a rookie Latimer indicated excitement for playing with and learning from Manning, the receiver acknowledged last season that once the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback had retired he was much more confident and less nervous.
"For me, it’s not being so nervous. I was always so nervous when Peyton was around. I didn’t want to mess up. It’s like a fresh start," Latimer told Denver Channel 7’s Troy Renck last August. "If I mess up, I mess up. But I am going to run fast and make plays."
The breakout year from Latimer never fully materialized last season, though he did prove to be a special teams ace while still catching the ball on occasion.
Unfortunately “on occasion” is not likely enough given the other talented wideouts with special teams skills.
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke recently called Latimer the worst pick of the Broncos’ 2014 draft, especially since they traded up for him in the second round and he has yet to show much for it.
But even Burke’s skepticism on the receiver’s potential has waned after OTAs as Latimer seems to have hit a bigger stride than his norm this time of year.
“This is his last shot to prove me, and any other doubters, wrong. The very early signs are encouraging. ...Any positive news matters right now for Latimer, who has all of 16 receptions for 158 yards and one TD over his first three seasons.
With the Broncos selections of Carlos Henderson and Isaiah McKenzie in the 2017 draft, Latimer’s roster spot is certainly in jeopardy, but his special teams prowess will likely earn him the fourth or fifth wide receiver spot.
MHR’s Christopher Hart has never been a huge fan of Latimer and believes the best bet for the second-round draft pick in 2014 is for the Broncos to carry six receivers and opt for Latimer to be one of their special teams standouts.
“Latimer is the epitome of the ‘Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane’ cliché and will undoubtedly be in a tenacious dogfight to make the team's final roster.” - Christopher Hart
I have a little more faith in the guy, in part because Bronco Mike thought my last name might mean Cody and I were related (LOL and RIP, Bronco Mike,...that still makes me laugh when I hear No. 14’s name) and also because he has an awesome basketball dunk.
But the truth is, Latimer’s athletic talent has not translated much beyond simple plays and special teams work. Training camp will be a big chance for Latimer to either break out for real as a legit receiver or recognize his NFL future rests with special teams.
Where do you see Cody Latimer on this roster?
This poll is closed
Special teams ace, that’s it
Special teams + WR#5 or 6
Gone after this year if he doesn’t produce at WR