The Denver Broncos have a ton of talent at wide receiver. Obviously, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Wes Welker are locks to make the team. Up for grabs are the fourth, fifth, and sixth receiver positions.
Andre Caldwell is one of those guys battling it out. The fifth-year receiver has 125 receptions for 1,190 yards, and six touchdowns in 58 career games. He played for the Cincinnati Bengals before finally arriving in Denver last season. In 2012, Caldwell saw action in eight games and had one catch for 18 yards. Caldwell was impressive in training camp last season, but with a strong tight end presence, it’s easy to see why Caldwell played in just half the team’s games.
Greg Orton is another “veteran” that will be battling hard in camp. He spent the final five games of the 2011 season and the full 2012 season on the Broncos’ practice squad. The 6-3, 199-pound 26 year-old receiver out of Purdue was with the Bengals at the start of training camp in 2009 before he played with the Arena Football League’s Spokane Shock and the United Football League’s Omaha Nighthawks.
Of course, as one of the best special team players in the NFL, Trindon Holliday will make the team thanks to his speed on kickoffs and punts. The question this year is will he get more time on the field as a wide receiver? This is where Holliday’s size puts him at a big disadvantage. At 5-5, 170 pounds, the second year former LSU track star had 2 receptions for 17 yards in 10 games last season. It may not even be worth putting Holliday in harms way other than on kickoffs and punts.
Fifth-round draft pick Tavarres King out of Georgia signed a four-year deal with the Broncos. In his time with the Bulldogs, King averaged 19.1 yards off of 136 receptions. He had 6 catches for 205 yards and one touchdown in the Outback Bowl. With some time against former Bulldog alumni, Champ Bailey, King should improve real quick.
After failing to make Denver’s final roster last year and spending the 2012 season on the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad, Gerell Robison is back with the Broncos competing for a spot. He signed a one-year, $1 million deal.
“With the talent we have in that room, I think every guy can play,” Decker said when asked whether some Broncos receivers will make another NFL roster if they’re not in Denver. “It’s all about getting the opportunity and making the most of it.”
Then there are undrafted rookies Kemonte’ Bateman out of New Mexico State, Quincy McDuffle out of Central Florida, and Laamar Thomas out of New Mexico.
“I think it’s too early,” Decker said of the team’s battle for the final receiver positions. “We’ve got a young guys, a lot of young talent that at this stage it’s learning the playbook and trying to get comfortable with the system. I remember being there as a rookie, things are just spinning in your head. I think the more reps they get, the more experience they have, that will be decided in training camp and we’ll see guys progress more at that point. It’s hard to say who would be four, five, six, but they’ve all been doing a good job.”
Going up against Bailey, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Quentin Jammer, Chris Harris, Mike Adams, Rahim Moore, and Tony Carter everyday will certainly flesh who’s made to be on this roster and catching balls from Peyton Manning.