Aug 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Cody Latimer (14) during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 21-16. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
The Denver Broncos have inarguably the best group of wide receivers and tight ends in the NFL. From Demaryius Thomas on down, this is a group that for the third straight year is the envy of the league.
Cody Latimer, a rookie out of Indiana, is one of the most talented players in that group, and that’s saying something. Latimer is a phenomenal blend of size, speed, blocking ability, and strong hands. When evaluating his pre-draft prospects, I felt like he had put together a strong enough resume, even with an injured foot, to be a first round pick.
There were rumors that the Panthers and Eagles were high on Latimer, and both had a need for a receiver in the first couple of rounds. When both teams passed, Latimer took a slide into the middle of the second round. The Broncos traded up and couldn’t wait any longer. After Eric Decker left for New York, the Broncos had a void at the #2 receiver spot. They had signed Emmanuel Sanders as a present solution as well as a future slot/outside combo, but they also drafted Latimer to be what Decker was in this offense.
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Apparently, they didn’t want that sooner rather than later. Latimer has played only one game this season — the first one against the Colts –and hasn’t played a single snap offensively. There were reports that Latimer was struggling to acclimate himself to Peyton Manning’s fast-paced offense, that the trust level was greater between Manning and a guy like Andre Caldwell to the point that the Broncos kept Latimer inactive even going a game with just four receivers (including Isaiah Burse) at one point.
I don’t know what’s going on in practices, and the coaches do, so I have to obviously defer to them in that regard. The problem is, we all know what Latimer is capable of, the type of talent he has, and the fact that if you throw him a quick bubble screen, he can probably bust a big gain out of it.
For a guy that was called the best blocking receiver in the draft by John Elway, a guy that they traded a pretty hefty price to obtain, it’s pretty odd that he’s not even been on the gameday roster once since week one.
My proposal is that the Broncos simply change that. Implement four or five plays per game to get Latimer involved. Down the stretch, he could be a really valuable extra piece in the offense if he’s able to find ways to get open for Peyton Manning. He’s certainly a gifted player who has huge potential, and is worth the investment of a gameday roster spot no matter the matchup for the Broncos.
They could be prepping for such an event this week with Andre Caldwell having suffered a knee injury against the Arizona Cardinals. If Caldwell is unable to suit up, it increases the chances that Latimer will take his place, and if he does, the Broncos need to find a couple of plays that get him the ball in space, match him up one on one in the red zone, or something of the like.
The Broncos need to get Latimer involved one way or another, and perhaps the unfortunate injury to Caldwell could make that happen.