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Broncos roster review: Wide receiver K.J. Hamler

With Russell Wilson at quarterback, speedster K.J. Hamler has a chance to shine this upcoming season.

Denver Broncos v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos selected Penn State wide receiver, K.J. Hamler, with their 46th overall selection in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The Broncos went back to back with wide receivers with their first two selections in 2020. In the first round, they selected Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and then they paired him with Hamler. However, Hamler’s career hasn’t started out very well.

Through two NFL seasons, Hamler has totaled 35 catches for 455 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has played in just 16 games through these past two seasons as well. Hamler played in 13 games in 2020 and just three games in 2021 after his season was cut short after tearing his ACL in week 3.

Now, with deep-ball specialist Russell Wilson under center for the Broncos, Hamler could be on the receiving end of a few deep balls for him this upcoming season.

Player Profile

Wide Receiver K.J. Hamler
Height: 5’9”
Weight: 178 pounds
Experience: 3rd NFL Season
Age: 22 years old

Highlights

K.J. Hamler rookie season highlights

How K.J. Hamler fits with the Broncos?

Hamler’s fit and usage will be interesting. Barring any injuries, he is the Broncos' fourth wide receiver behind Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and Jerry Jeudy. However, his skill set, speed, and ability to catch a long touchdown will get him on the field. Broncos Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Justin Outten will need to get creative here to get him on the field and in a position to make some big plays for the Broncos offense.

General Manager George Paton had some big praise for him earlier this offseason. He told reporters that he “couldn’t be impressed by anyone in the building more than K.J. Hamler.

“I couldn’t be more impressed with anyone in our building than KJ Hamler. Significant injury and no one fights, no one works, no one has more passion—and the fact that I saw him running routes last month at Russell—I mean, I know he’s doing well, I know his surgery went well. But I saw him out there and it’s very impressive. A player like KJ, Russell throws one of the better deep balls in the NFL, so to have a guy that can stretch the field—I like KJ.”

Hamler’s role, barring injuries, will be a field stretcher. Russell Wilson throws one of the best deep balls in the game and Hamler has some elite speed. So, you have to expect these two will connect on a few big plays this upcoming season.

The other big thing will be Hamler’s health. He tore his ACL last September, and these injuries usually take about a full year to fully recover from. However, Hamler has been out with Wilson running routes and catching passes and also participating at least a little bit in the Broncos' practices thus far. Also, General Manager George Paton stated before the draft that he is “ahead of schedule”.

“I don’t. I hate to put a timeline on it. So many things could happen, but he’s well ahead of schedule. We’re looking forward to getting him back during the season.”

If Hamler is able to fully participate or be close to 100% by Training Camp, he has a chance to be one of the stars of camp and the preseason. I expect to see Hamler catching multiple bombs this summer from Russell Wilson.

Final Thoughts

If K.J. Hamler can stay healthy, he has a shot to be an impact player for the Broncos' offense. I don’t foresee him being a starter, barring injuries, but he should see multiple targets and touches throughout a game. Russell Wilson’s deep ball is pretty and deadly accurate, so Hamler will get his chances here. I am excited to see these two connect multiple times this season.

In limited playing time, Hamler has flashed enough to show he can be a consistent player for the Broncos' offense. All this was with below-average/very below-average quarterback play. Now, with a high-end quarterback in the fold for the Broncos, Hamler has a chance to be a breakout player this upcoming season.