Denver Broncos: Is Courtland Sutton the next Cody Latimer?

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 21: Courtland Sutton #16 of the Southern Methodist Mustangs runs the ball after reception as Chris Murphy #30 of the Cincinnati Bearcats reaches for the tackle at Nippert Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 21: Courtland Sutton #16 of the Southern Methodist Mustangs runs the ball after reception as Chris Murphy #30 of the Cincinnati Bearcats reaches for the tackle at Nippert Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Courtland Sutton and Cody Latimer are both former second round draft picks of the Denver Broncos. How do these two big, athletic receivers match up?

John Elway has used a second-round pick on the wide receiver position twice in his tenure with the Denver Broncos as an executive. Those two players — Courtland Sutton and Cody Latimer — were taken 16 picks apart in their respective drafts.

On paper, the two receivers match up similarly, but Broncos Country hopes that Sutton’s tenure is nothing like Latimer’s.

Cody Latimer

Cody Latimer is no longer a Denver Bronco, but his legacy will live on in the form of second round busts selected by John Elway. This wasn’t always the case, however. In fact, the selection of Latimer with the 56th overall pick was applauded by many analysts at the time.

The Indiana Hoosier standout wide receiver burst on to the scene his sophomore season, finishing seventh in receptions in the Big Ten. His performance improved in his junior year. Latimer’s 72 receptions, 1,096 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns were good for 4th, 3rd, and 5th respectively in the conference.

Heading into 2014 draft season, Latimer was shooting up boards. This rise only continued after his phenomenal showing in athletic testing. The 6’2”, 215-pound receiver ran a 4.39 40 yard dash and jumped an outstanding 39 inches in the vertical.

These numbers had scouts gushing over his potential despite how raw he was. Elway saw enough to take him in the second round. Denver hoped that he could provide a dynamic jump-ball threat to compliment Demaryius Thomas.

Unfortunately, these dreams were never realized. Latimer struggled to learn the playbook and quickly fell out of favor with Peyton Manning. Latimer learned the hard way that you do not want to piss off Manning.

It seemed like he could just never get going and continued to be passed by lesser known receivers such as Jordan Taylor and Bennie Fowler. He failed to even reach double-digit receptions until his fourth season in Denver. Despite struggling to get on the field as a receiver, Latimer did carve out a spot on special teams.

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After four years with Denver, Latimer reached unrestricted free agency and signed with the New York Giants, thus ending his unspectacular tenure in the Mile High City.

Courtland Sutton

Sutton is similar to Latimer in that he is a big bodied, athletic receiver capable of making acrobatic and jump-ball catches. Standing at 6’3”, 218 pounds, he is just one inch taller and three pounds heavier than Latimer. Additionally, his hands are just an eighth of an inch bigger than Latimer.

Where Latimer separates himself is in athletic testing. Sutton posted lower numbers in the 40-yard dash (4.54), vertical jump (35 inches), and bench press (18 compared to Latimer’s 23). Sutton’s numbers, despite being slightly worse, are still very good for the wide receiver position.

Sutton, like Latimer, is a relatively unpolished player. Coming from SMU, Sutton was not asked to run an advanced route tree nor did he have to in order to beat up on the smaller school competition he faced.

Regardless of these potential shortcomings, Sutton has many traits that show he can easily outplay the ghost of Latimer. Most importantly, Sutton is a leader on and off the field. His peers respected him enough to vote him in as team captain at SMU.

Sutton is a mentally tough, high-effort individual, and a willing blocker. He is willing to put in the time and effort to learn the playbook now. This all showed early as he wasted no time impressing the Denver Broncos coaching staff and our new starting quarterback.

"“I’ve seen a talented guy. He has a huge catch radius and he’s got great ball skills”Vance Joseph on Sutton’s performance during OTA’s. (quotes via Broncos PR)"

Predominantly Orange writer Cameron Parker even wrote an article about the impressive display of athleticism and talent Sutton showed during OTA’s.

Will Sutton be the next Latimer?

While both receivers were unpolished, athletic jump-ball types coming out of college, Sutton is already separating himself in his short Denver Broncos career. Both are former second-round picks under the Elway regime, but unlike Latimer, Sutton is making the most of this opportunity.

Next: What we learned from Broncos OTAs

With Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both on the wrong side of 30, it’s important Denver can groom replacements. Although not crucial for Sutton to make an immediate impact this year, it would definitely provide a boost of confidence for the future.

For now, it will be exciting to watch Sutton continue to develop under the veteran’s guidance. He appears eager and hungry to become the next great Bronco receiver. In just over two weeks, we will see just how much his offseason work has paid off as we head into training camp.