Kendall Hinton is part of one of the most unique moments in Denver Broncos history.
Heck, NFL history.
Throw it on the list for 2020. But after the NFL deemed the three Broncos quarterbacks unavailable to play against the New Orleans Saints, that threw Hinton into a no-win situation. The practice squad receiver was now set to start for Denver. And it went how everyone expected — New Orleans won the Week 12 game 31-3.
From henceforth Hinton is linked to that game. Now, it looks like he has a great opportunity to make the 2021 roster.
#9 Kendall Hinton, WR
Age 24. 6’0”, 195 lbs.
College: Wake Forest
On what proved to be the final day of Broncos minicamp, Vic Fangio was asked if a particular player has impressed him the most this offseason.
“The guy that has had a really good camp from the start of OTAs until now has been Kendall. He’s really looked good as a receiver and he’s improved a lot. He’s in the hunt for one of those spots.”
The fact that Fangio wasn’t asked about Hinton specifically makes that quote even more noticeable.
That jives with what multiple reporters have said about Hinton as well.
Hinton has clearly busted his butt on the field and in the classroom to get to this point.
And it’s not just the coaches who have noticed.
When Drew Lock was asked if there’s an increase in comfort with the receivers and if he’s seen growth in Hinton:
“Then like you said, I would even say Kendall ... super aggressive to the ball. You feel like you can throw him a ball one-on-one, and he’s going to go get it. Runs super defined routes — and from receiver, to kind of on the team, to quarterback, to receiver, I mean, he’s definitely shown that he is here to work, and he really cares about the game of football.”
The one thing that could work against Hinton is the numbers.
How many receivers will the Broncos keep on the active roster, and will Hinton squeak into the top six or seven?
Denver is loaded at the receiver position, and it just comes down to how many receivers general manager George Paton and Fangio want to keep.
Based on those quotes from Fangio and Lock, he’s done everything right and what he can to standout. So Hinton has done his part. But it is enough?
What could help Hinton get that final nudge to finding his way onto the roster is he’s been standing out on special teams as well.
As special teams coordinator Tom McMahon said, Hinton has been catching a bunch in return drills. The more value you show in multiple positions, the more likely a player is to earn to a roster position.
Whether Hinton is able to do that in 2021 remains one of the most intriguing aspects of training camp. Not to mention one of the better storylines.
Hinton will always have a part in Broncos’ history. If he’s able to make the roster, it will only add to his unique story.