The Denver Broncos have quite the set of wide receivers heading into the 2018 regular season. With Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton, and DaeSean Hamilton all but secure as the top four at the position, there is a ton of competition for the final one or two spots.
One player who has come out of nowhere to make a name for himself in this group has been Tim Patrick. His name was mentioned over and over again during training camp as a guy making plays and now he is doing it during actual preseason games.
Patrick prides himself in coming down with those jump ball throws.
“That I know I’m going to get it (laughter),” Patrick said of jump balls. “I’m 6’5. Throw it up there, I know I’m going to get it—definitely with shorter defensive backs. It’s funny because the play I made at practice and the play I made in the game were literally the same exact play against the same exact guys. I kind of felt bad for that guy, but hey, I’ve got a family to feed too (laughter).”
Chad Kelly knew this when they saw Patrick one-on-one outside. He threw the ball up where only Patrick could really have a shot at coming down with it and come down with it he did for a huge third down conversion.
Big plays or not, Patrick knows his chances of making the final 53-man roster comes down to his special teams play. That’s where his focus is in terms of getting better and becoming the kind of player the coaches can rely on in special teams duty.
“It’s the number one priority,” Patrick said of his special teams play. “With the top four guys, everybody knows who those guys are. Being the fifth of sixth receiver, you have to play special teams. And if you’re not good on special teams, there’s no reason to bring you back on the team. Being the fifth or sixth receiver, you might get four or five reps at receiver in a game, but you’re going to play every single special teams. Going into the game, special teams is definitely my first priority.”
Patrick should have an inside track of making the final 53-man roster for the Broncos based purely on his threat as a fifth wide receiver, but his attention to detail on special teams might be what seals the deal as the Broncos coaching staff tries to assemble the best team possible next week.
As a fan, I’m rooting for him.