Tyrie Cleveland was one of Elway’s final picks as General Manager of the Denver Broncos. The team drafted him with the 252nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, a draft class where they took two other receivers in Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler. With an even more talented receiver room ahead of him and a new coaching staff to impress, is this the year we could see Tyrie Cleveland make an impact on the Broncos’ roster?
#16 Tyrie Cleveland
Weight: 205 lbs
Position: Wide Receiver
Experience: 3 years
How he fits with the Broncos in 2022
One can never have too many explosive playmakers in their offense, and Cleveland certainly has that well in hand. Cleveland was the epitome of a raw but enticing project at wide receiver as a draft prospect, hence why he was taken in the seventh round.
So far, he hasn’t made much of an impact for the Broncos in his career. He’s played less than 50 snaps in his career on offense, and he’s been targeted a grand total of 9(nine) times. Three of those were dropped. Even with KJ Hamler’s injury last season, Cleveland received just 16 offensive snaps. With Montrell Washington the Paton front office’s new pet cat and a fully healthy receiving room, it’s tough to see that role expanding much this season.
Where Cleveland can make his mark is on special teams. Currently, he’s one of two players on the roster with any kick returns and the only one with more than two (KJ Hamler has just two in his career-both in 2020). Cleveland averaged 24.2 yards per return in college with the Florida Gators and certainly has the athleticism to succeed in that role. Special Teams Coach Dwayne Stukes said Tyrie Cleveland was a “core special teams player”. Of course, Stukes made this comment before the 2022 NFL Draft, where the team drafted Montrell Washington and signed Jalen Virgil-both of whom are prolific special teamers in their own right. Cleveland’s primary role on special teams was as a punt gunner but played a handful of special teams snaps in other roles. He was just 19th on the team in special teams snaps last year, but the departure of Mike Ford and Nate Hairston leaves more gunner snaps available for Cleveland.
As vital as special teams is, Cleveland will have to prove he can make an impact offensively if he wants to make it on the Broncos’ 53-man roster. Keep in mind that the team waived him already at the end of last season and put him on the practice squad. George Paton nor Nathaniel Hackett drafted him, so there’s not much tying him there. While he has the endorsement of the Special Teams coach, that’s not going to be enough with the talent logjam at wide receiver the Broncos find themselves with.