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No Bull Roster Status Part 6: Receivers

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A No Bull look at the current Denver Broncos roster, its strengths, weaknesses, and what we can expect to target in free agency and the draft.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

With the season over and a huge change in coaching regime for the Denver Broncos, it is a great time to step back, take a look at the roster, and play a little armchair GM before free agency. All of this is my own personal opinion based off what I’ve seen from the players on the field.

Series links:

Part 1: Defensive Line

Part 2: Linebackers

Part 3: Secondary

Part 4: Special Teams

Part 5: Offensive Line

This week we look at our Receiving groups to find out what holes the Broncos should be looking to fill in the 2019 NFL offseason.

Player Rating Key:

1 - Project / developmental - lacking necessary skills to contribute as it stands today

2 - Backup quality - Can play, but isn’t a guy you want out there every snap

3 - Mediocre starter - Doesn’t bring anything special to the table, but is able to do the job

4 - Good starter - An above-average talent

5 - Blue chip player - Top 10 talent in the NFL at what he does

Unit Rating Key:

1 - Blow it up - the Broncos have nothing NFL quality to work with

2 - Severely lacking at least one starter

3 - Mediocre need

4 - Solid talent and depth

5 - Elite talent level

Tight Ends:

2018 Tight End Stats

No. Player Age Pos G GS Snaps / % Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G Ctch% Touch Y/Tch YScm RRTD Fmb
No. Player Age Pos G GS Snaps / % Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G Ctch% Touch Y/Tch YScm RRTD Fmb
82 Jeff Heuerman 26 TE 11 10 555 / 51.7% 48 31 281 9.1 2 36 2.8 25.5 64.60% 31 9.1 281 2 0
83 Matt LaCosse 26 TE 15 5 418 / 38.9% 37 24 250 10.4 1 44 1.6 16.7 64.90% 24 10.4 250 1 0
80 Jake Butt 23 TE 3 3 146 / 13.6% 13 8 85 10.6 0 22 2.7 28.3 61.50% 8 10.6 85 0 0
89 Brian Parker 26 TE 13 1 97 / 9.0% 10 5 33 6.6 0 11 0.4 2.5 50.00% 5 6.6 33 0 0
profootballreference.com, www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/snapcounts

UFA Jeff Heuerman - 2

Heuerman has been a lot of up and down over his career with the Broncos. He seems like an answer, but injuries and inconsistency are the main things I remember when I look back over his career so far with the team.

I think my big point on Heuerman is that he’s had several years to make a statement and I have yet to see one from him. Sure, he could leave and become a playmaker on another team with better QB play, but I just don’t see it.

ERFA Matt LaCosse - 3

LaCosse is one of the most intriguing guys in the tight end room to me. He wasn’t anything special, but he looked like a guy who could make plays as a tight end. He’s the guy from the group I’d like to see stay as depth while they find someone who has more playmaking potential.

ERFA Brian Parker - 1

I honestly didn’t see much from Parker that peaked my interest. He got 10 targets on the year and I don’t remember any of them.

Jake Butt - 3

Injury troubles are something I’m honestly a bit tired of hearing about in the tight end room. Butt looked like a guy who could do everything you wanted from a tight end in the NFL. But if you can’t make it onto the field, you can’t be a starter and probably shouldn’t be taking up space in the locker room.

Troy Fumagalli - 3

I could honestly copy and paste the statement from Butt and put it here. The only difference between the two is that Fumagalli was just drafted last year. Let’s at least see if he has anything to lend to the 2019 season before we lump him in with Butt and Heuerman.

Temarrick Hemingway - 1

Today I Learned: Hemingway took 4 offensive snaps for the Broncos in 2018.

Overview - 2

It is by the grace of Matt LaCosse that this group even rates a 2. The Broncos haven’t had any success stories in the tight end room for years. It is a very important part of modern day NFL football and is something that in my mind the offensive side of the ball needs to address as the highest priority other than quarterback.

Wide Receivers:

2018 Wide Receiver Stats

No. Player Age Pos G GS Snaps / % Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G Ctch% Touch Y/Tch YScm RRTD Fmb
No. Player Age Pos G GS Snaps / % Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G Ctch% Touch Y/Tch YScm RRTD Fmb
10 Emmanuel Sanders 31 WR 12 12 658 / 61.3% 98 71 868 12.2 4 64 5.9 72.3 72.40% 75 12.3 921 5 1
14 Courtland Sutton 23 WR 16 9 819 / 76.3% 84 42 704 16.8 4 42 2.6 44 50.00% 43 16.3 703 4 0
17 DaeSean Hamilton 23 WR 14 5 471 / 43.9% 45 30 243 8.1 2 24 2.1 17.4 66.70% 30 8.1 243 2 0
81 Tim Patrick 25 WR 16 4 393 / 36.6% 41 23 315 13.7 1 26 1.4 19.7 56.10% 26 12.8 332 1 2
11 River Cracraft 24 WR 8 0 27 / 2.5% 2 1 44 44 0 44 0.1 5.5 50.00% 1 44 44 0 1
profootballreference.com, www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/snapcounts

Courtland Sutton - 4

Sutton is a jump ball machine waiting for a quarterback who can put him in situations where he can shine. I honestly think Flacco being on the team will elevate Sutton’s play just because Flacco is able to throw a very catchable deep ball.

What we want to see here is improvement in route running as he enters his 2nd year in the league. He can’t just be a deep jump-ball specialist. The NFL is too good to let him do just one thing. Look for him to sharpen up on his intermediate / short routes and hopefully add a little YAC play to his game.

Emmanuel Sanders - 5

I’m not sure what the nonsense is about Sanders and his contract. Yes, he’s expensive. Yes, he’s a diva at WR. But the dude leaves it out on the field week in and week out. He’s a damned good football player. I get the angle of the team getting younger and Sanders not likely being a long term fit, but I don’t buy anything about him not being an excellent player for the team.

DaeSean Hamilton - 3

Of all the new players from 2018, I think Hamilton’s plate was probably the more difficult one for any of the rookies to deal with. His future in the NFL is most likely as a slot receiver. He put in a very solid season of work towards his evolution in this regard.

I have to think he’ll show another solid step forward for the 2019 season...especially if we get better quarterback play that can take advantage of his skill-set. Slot receiver more so than any other skill position requires quick, accurate passing which is a very difficult skill for most NFL QBs to master.

River Cracraft - 1

The biggest thing I remember about Cracraft from 2018 was the hype of him coming out of training camp. He’s just a guy at receiver. The league has dozens of guys just like him filling practice squads all over the NFL.

ERFA Jordan Taylor - 1

I’m not sure that Taylor has a future with the team even given his ERFA status. He’s a guy who has the same kind of jump ball skill set that Courtland Sutton does, but in his career, that’s all he’s ever developed and he’s not even half the athlete that Sutton is.

SFA Tim Patrick - 3

Patrick is the young guy in this group that I’m most excited about. He’s not who we want to fill in as a #2 yet, but he’s exactly the kind of guy you want on your bench ready to come in on a moment’s notice. He does have NFL skill and plays the intermediate to deep game very well.

Keep an eye on Patrick this season. He’s a player who oozes potential.

Aaron Burbridge - 1

Fred Brown - 1

Chad Hansen - 1

Overview - 4

The Broncos have a lot of talent at the wide receiver position. Even if they decide to cut Sanders, they can still field a WR unit capable of winning games. Last year they were in dire need of an infusion of talent, but this is one of the team’s strengths in 2019.

Roster status overall:

Defensive Line:

Defensive Ends 3

Nose Tackles 1

Linebackers:

Outside Linebackers 3

Inside Linebackers 2

Secondary:

Cornerbacks 2

Safeties 3

Kicking:

Kickers 4

Returners 2

Offensive Line:

Tackles 3

Interior O-Line 3

Receiving:

Tight Ends 2

Wide Receivers 4