The Broncos surprised some people when they traded a 5th round pick in 2014 and a 4th round pick in 2014 to move up and take Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer (and receive an additional 7th round pick), but this was arguably a pick that they could have made at the #31 overall slot.
In every draft John Elway has had with the Broncos, he’s followed up a defensive pick in the first round with an offensive one in the second round. Many thought Elway would focus on the offensive line or inside linebacker position with the Broncos’ second round pick, but Denver needed to add size on the outside at the WR position with Eric Decker off to the Jets.
In comes Cody Latimer, the 6’3″ 215 pound speedster out of Indiana who is fully healed from left foot surgery and blew scouts away by running between 4.38 and 4.44 at his pro day in April.
A former basketball player, Latimer has the ability to snatch the ball at its highest point, and knows how to use his body to shield defenders. Here is a quick glance at Latimer, as well as some of my observations in watching him play.
Wt: 215 lbs.
Bench reps: 23 (at 225 lbs)
Hands: 9 5/8″
2nd-team All Big Ten
- Big, strong receiver
- Uses size well to shield defenders
- Excellent deep speed
- Strength to beat press
- Strong hands
- Great leaping ability to win jump ball situations
- Tremendous athleticism
- Hands catcher, snatches the ball out of the air and doesn’t let many come into his body
- Not a high drop rate, sure handed player
- John Elway called him the ‘best blocking WR in the draft by far’
- Coming off foot surgery
- Still somewhat raw as route runner
How He Fits the Broncos
This seems like a pick for 2015, but the Broncos know that the health of Wes Welker is a major question mark, considering how much more likely the next concussion is than the last.
When Welker was out of the lineup last season, the Broncos’ passing game seriously suffered on third downs. The Broncos also lost Eric Decker to the Jets.
While Andre Caldwell played solid at times in a reserve role, and the Broncos also used $15 million to sign Emmanuel Sanders from the Steelers, upgrading at WR in this year’s draft was a no-brainer. Denver is getting a guy who will be their unquestioned ‘Y’ receiver along with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders for the future.
This is a player who can beat press/jams at the line of scrimmage, can block well in the running game (something Decker was very good at as well), and is a freakish athlete with a basketball background who soared up draft boards when teams found out he was fully recovered from foot surgery.
Latimer’s draft process is not unlike that of Demaryius Thomas. He’s a big player with speed who played in an offense that didn’t always cater to his strengths but he benefit from it because of his strong ability to block in the running game. Denver is now even more locked and loaded at the WR position with Latimer in the fold, and he can learn for a year with the best offense in the NFL and be a primary piece of the offense in 2015.
I think the Broncos will be able to use Latimer in different packages and get him making plays with his speed after the catch as well in the short passing game.
To me, this is an A+ pick and a phenomenal value for a player that so many had projected to go in the first round in the weeks leading up to the draft.
Latimer vs. Bowling Green (2013)
Latimer vs. Penn State (2013)