The Denver Broncos may have a diamond in the rough on their hands in wide receiver Tim Patrick, who is creating separation for a roster spot…
For an NFL wide receiver, creating separation is the name of the game. For Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick, creating separation has a different meaning entirely.
Patrick is in his second year in the NFL, but already with his third NFL team.
Compared to what he’s been through leading up to this year’s training camp opportunity with the Denver Broncos, competition for a roster spot might feel like a walk in the park.
After he finally was able to make the grades to get a scholarship to play for the Utes, Patrick showed promise in his freshman season and had high hopes for a breakout sophomore campaign.
Those hopes were dashed when he suffered a compound fracture to his leg, forcing him to miss the entire 2015 season and putting his playing career in jeopardy.
In the piece linked above, Patrick talks about having to essentially learn to walk again.
He worked his butt off to get himself healthy for the 2016 season at Utah, and despite struggling with an ankle issue throughout the year, he ended up having a big season with 45 receptions, 711 yards, and five scores, including an epic game-winner against USC that Utah fans won’t soon forget.
After the 2016 season, Patrick decided to head to the NFL and was not invited to the Scouting Combine, but showed off his insane athleticism at the Utah pro day, where he ran a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash, threw up 22 bench press reps at 225 pounds, and had a 37-inch vertical jump.
His measurables were worthy of a first-round receiver but Patrick’s injury and just one season of production caused him to go undrafted, not unexpectedly.
The Baltimore Ravens signed Patrick after the NFL Draft, but he didn’t even make it to the month of August with the team.
On July 30, Patrick was waived by the Ravens but the San Francisco 49ers, led by John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, liked what they saw enough from Patrick that they claimed him on July 31 and gave him a shot to compete.
As fate would have it, Patrick and the 49ers hosted the Denver Broncos for a week of joint practices and a preseason game starting on August 16, 2017.
The Broncos certainly had scouted Patrick prior to that meeting as they have more Utah Utes on their current roster than any other school in college football, but this was their chance to see him up-close-and-personal for an extended period of time.
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Patrick spent the preseason with the 49ers and saw action in just one game, catching a pair of passes.
He was waived by the 49ers on September 1 and worked out for teams while hoping for a second chance until the Broncos brought him onto their practice squad on October 21.
On October 27, he was briefly added to the active roster.
After being waived again, Patrick re-signed to the Broncos’ practice squad on November 16 and wound up staying there through the end of the season.
As Vance Joseph noted at training camp recently, the Broncos have liked Patrick for a year now, and their willingness to develop him seems to be paying off.
Five days into training camp, Patrick has the look of a player very clearly deserving of a roster spot.
His athleticism stands out, but that athleticism means nothing if you can’t run routes, which Patrick can. It means nothing if you’re not coming down with passes, which Patrick is. It also means nothing if you’re not consistent, which Patrick has been.
He was working with the first team offense during OTAs and has seen some work with the top unit again in training camp.
Why is Patrick getting work with the top offense? See for yourself…
The Broncos should be thrilled by Patrick’s development and for the chance to add a big-play receiver like this who may just be scratching the surface of his potential.