Denver Broncos: Slot WR River Cracrafft college highlights

PALO ALTO, CA - OCTOBER 08: River Cracraft
PALO ALTO, CA - OCTOBER 08: River Cracraft /

The Denver Broncos added Hunter Sharp to their 53-man roster, and signed slot receiver River Cracraft to their practice squad. Here are some highlights…

The Denver Broncos announced a couple more roster moves on Wednesday morning, adding wide receiver Hunter Sharp to the 53-man roster and signing rookie slot receiver River Cracraft to the practice squad.

We wrote about Sharp on Tuesday, giving you some need-to-know information about the newest member of the Broncos’ offense and special teams.

With Sharp’s addition to the active roster, the Broncos replaced him immediately on the practice squad with slot receiver River Cracraft, formerly of Washington State.

Cracraft spilled the beans on his Twitter account by showing a picture of his new locker. A proud moment for the young player, indeed:

The former Washington State slot man comes to the Broncos with no prior experience in the NFL, training camp, mini-camp, practice squad, or otherwise. It’s his first year in the league, and as a rookie, he faced a couple of uphill battles in his quest for a shot.

First and foremost, Cracraft was not previously on an NFL roster due to an ACL injury he suffered last November. With his injury, Cracraft was only able to play in 10 games last season and his pre-draft opportunities to impress NFL scouts were extremely limited.

Typically, it takes at least nine months to a year to fully recover from such an injury, so that would put Cracraft right about the spot where he could begin successfully working out for NFL teams at 100 percent.

The Broncos worked out Cracraft along with a couple of other receivers, and decided he was the best fit for their team moving forward. We’ll see what happens when Emmanuel Sanders, Cody Latimer, and Isaiah McKenzie return to full health, but for now, Cracraft has a shot at impressing this Broncos coaching staff.

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This past season at Washington State, Cracraft was third on the team with 53 receptions, third on the team with 701 yards, and finished first on the team in yards per reception (13.23).

He finished his collegiate career with 20 receiving touchdowns, and was productive from his very first year on campus at Washington State. Where was he most productive?

Cracraft played over 97 percent of his snaps out of the slot.

Mike Leach’s offense at Washington State is well-known for being a pass-happy offense, so some of Cracraft’s production is inflated due to the spread concepts run there. But he has the tools to be an effective slot at the next level given some time to develop.

That’s why the Broncos placed him on the practice squad, obviously.

Cracraft has done well to involve himself with some of the best in the NFL at his position, namely working out with guys like Julian Edelman, and also catching some passes from Russell Wilson this offseason.

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We won’t get to see much of Cracraft at all, but he adds another talented young player to the fray at receiver for the Broncos, and could be a sleeper to contribute at some point as a slot player for this team.