The Broncos have a problem at the wide receiving position and it’s not a bad problem. They have about 10 wide receivers on the roster currently who have made a pretty solid case to make the 53-man roster. Even after losing Tim Patrick to an ACL injury for the year, the Broncos' wide receiving group looks insanely deep.
We saw this during the Broncos' 17-7 preseason-opening victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Multiple wide receivers made big plays and flashed enough potential to make a very good case to make the 53-man roster.
You had big Seth Williams go up and high point a ball in the end zone for a touchdown reception. That’s important because Tim Patrick was supposed to have this role and while Williams isn’t as big, he flashed that he has that upside here. Then you have Kendall Hinton making a beautiful touchdown grab in the corner of the end zone. The Hall of Famer runs smooth routes and always finds a way to get open and really should be on the roster regardless. Next, you have UDFA Brandon Johnson who has been making plays all camp and continued that here against the Cowboys. He appears to have real potential and could be a contributor down the road for the Broncos. Finally, you have the speedster Jalen Virgil. Throughout camp, he was on the receiving end of multiple deep balls and he caught two of these against the Cowboys. This is important because Russell Wilson loves throwing the deep ball and if you have a receiver who can separate and catch these deep passes, you have a weapon on your roster.
All four of these players have had solid camps and now a preseason performance under their belt and have made a solid case for a roster spot. Unfortunately, the problem the Broncos have is that they do not have enough spots for all these receivers.
As of right now, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, and rookie Montrell Washington are locked into a roster spot. That leaves two or three spots for the remaining receivers. You need to include Tyrie Cleveland in this group as well because of his special team's play. He’s currently sidelined with a throat injury but is likely a player for a spot as well.
So, who makes it?
Kendall Hinton - Hinton is the most likely to make the roster out of this group. He has been a contributor for a few years now and is the type of receiver you want at the back end of your roster. I could see a scenario where he’s trade bait like Trinity Benson was last year, but for now, he’s likely making the roster.
Seth Williams - The big man could help replace Tim Patrick’s role in the offense but probably needs to show more than just being a big red zone possession receiver to make the team. He’s probably a practice squad guy but could easily elevate himself further in the next couple of weeks.
Brandon Johnson - Right now, Johnson appears the next most likely receiver to make the team behind Kendall Hinton. He earned the start last night which shows his current pecking order and led the team in receptions as well. I’m on the Johnson bandwagon and I think he has earned a spot on the team this summer.
Jalen Virgil - The speedy undrafted rookie appears to be a deep ball specialist. He caught three balls for 83 yards last night and entered himself in this conversation. However, he came in behind all of the receivers mentioned already, so we’ll see if that changes in the coming days and weeks. He has great speed and being a deep ball specialist is a good trait to have when Russell Wilson is your quarterback.
Tyrie Cleveland - He’s currently sidelined with a throat injury and could be sidelined for a few more weeks. However, he was penciled in for a roster spot prior because of his special team's play during the spring and at the start of camp. Now, being sidelined for a long period of time could easily change this, but we can’t rule him out for a roster spot. Especially with the recent emphasis on special team's play.
Travis Fulgham/Trey Quinn/Kaden Davis/Darius Shepard - I’m lumping these four together because it appears they have no shot at making the roster. Fulgham didn’t play until late in the game and didn’t do much while out there. Trey Quinn had a bad drop and just didn’t look great out there. Kaden Davis looks like a practice squad candidate while Darius Shepard is probably nothing more than a camp/preseason body.
So, how do you think this will play out? The preseason game against the Bills next week will be important for all these guys. One last chance to prove they are worthy of a roster spot with the Broncos. Usually, all roster decisions are made before the preseason finale, so this will be an important week of practices, film work, and eventually game action for these players.