The former Washington State slot receiver joined the teams Practice Squad in October but that didn’t last long. Just a few days later it was reported that he suffered a torn hamstring and the team waived him. Well, two months later, the Broncos decided to bring back Cracraft to their Practice Squad after he returned to 100%.
Now Cracraft will have a full offseason to impress Broncos coaches and try to earn one of the final spots on the 53-man roster or another spot on the teams Practice Squad.
- Height: 6’0”
- Weight: 198lbs
- Age: 23 years old
- School: Washington State
- Experience: 2nd season
Cracraft played four seasons at Washington State and was a solid contributor to the team during that time. During his four-year career at Washington State, Cracraft totaled 218 receptions for 2,701 yards and 20 touchdowns. During his final season with Washington State, Cracraft totaled 53 receptions for 701 yards and 5 touchdowns.
His senior year at Washington State was cut short by a torn ACL. This injury led to him going undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Here is what the Pro Football Focus analysis team had to say about Cracraft prior to the 2017 NFL Draft.
Bottom line: Cracraft had a lot of production at Washington State, but a large part of that was due to the scheme they ran. He had free releases out of the slot and because of how far spread out the defenses were, he had a lot of space to find holes in zone defenses. His season was cut short by a torn ACL, which could prevent him from being drafted. While Cracraft doesn’t have ideal size or speed for an NFL wide receiver he has the ability to end up in an NFL training camp when he’s fully recovered from his injury.
Like most crafty slot receivers, Cracraft shows good field awareness and is able to find the holes in zone coverage. He runs good routes, has good quickness, and top-notch body control which helps him be successful from the slot.
As I said earlier, there are not many slots open for a receiver after the Broncos selected Courtland Sutton in the second round and DaeSean Hamilton in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
However, the misfortune of others may benefit Cracraft this offseason. Veteran wide receiver Jordan Taylor will be sidelined into Training Camp after undergoing hip surgery and 2017 third-round pick, Carlos Henderson’s disappointing stint with the Broncos is continuing. He has suffered a hamstring injury and is missing valuable practice time. This led to Broncos Head Coach Vance Joseph to say this about Henderson.
“He’s got a hamstring,” Joseph said. “It started in Phase 2 and hasn’t gotten better. He’s got to get back on the field if he wants to make this football team.” He went on to add, “You can’t make the football team on the sideline, so those guys have got to get back on the field, especially in that room. It’s a competitive room and it’s a full room. If you’re not practicing, your chances of making the team are slim to none.”
These injuries and struggles could open the door for Cracraft to crack the 53-man roster. The rookie Hamilton figures to be the starting slot receiver, but someone like Cracraft could give them a valuable backup for him.
A strong summer could go a long way for Cracraft especially if others continue to struggle and/or be sidelined by injury.
Injury issues have plagued Cracraft the past few seasons. He suffered a torn ACL during his senior year at Washington State and suffered a torn hamstring with the Broncos a few days after joining them. He will need to stay healthy during Camp if he wants any shot at cracking the Broncos 53-man roster.
He struggled a bit with dropped passes during his college career and will need to be more dependable in that area going forward. He also lacks top-end speed is more of a “quicker than fast” sort of player.
He also faces some long odds at cracking the 53-man roster and will need to show he can contribute on Special Teams if he wants to do that. This is listed under “the bad” because it is something he has not done much throughout his career.
Where does wide receiver River Cracraft fit in the Broncos plans?
I think they obviously like him since they signed him twice last season so he has a good shot at sticking around. I think he likely lands on the Broncos 10-man Practice Squad if he can stay healthy this summer.
If injuries creep up and/or Taylor and/or Henderson continues to struggle with injuries or production, this could open up a spot for Cracraft. So that 5th and potentially 6th wide receiver spot will be a fun battle to watch this summer.