Denver Broncos: River Cracraft called on with slot help needed
The Denver Broncos called up slot receiver River Cracraft from the practice squad and cut second-year player Isaiah McKenzie.
The Denver Broncos made some roster moves on Friday, bringing safety Su’a Cravens up to the active roster from injured reserve and also promoting practice squad receiver River Cracraft.
In order to promote Cracraft, the Broncos cut Isaiah McKenzie in hopes they can bring him back to the practice squad.
The Broncos’ main slot receiver this year has been Emmanuel Sanders, who has played 187 slot snaps. Prior to being traded, Demaryius Thomas was second on the team with 89 slot snaps.
Courtland Sutton has 51 slot snaps, and DaeSean Hamilton has 42.
The trade of Thomas means Sanders is going to be playing a bit less out of the slot and a bit more on the outside. The Broncos don’t have to drastically change things as Tim Patrick will try and step in as someone who can create mismatches on the outside, but Cracraft is almost exclusively a slot player.
He played the slot for the Broncos in the preseason, and ended up catching three passes in the preseason finale against the Arizona Cardinals.
Throughout the offseason, it appeared as though Cracraft had taken over the Broncos’ number six wide receiver job, and with Thomas gone to Houston and Hamilton injured, that sixth wide receiver spot has turned into a very important fourth wide receiver spot.
Cracraft will be active for the Broncos in this game and has a chance to compete not only as a slot player but as a punt returner.
The Broncos are under no pressure to give him a ton of snaps, by any means, but Cracraft is an excellent route runner from the slot and probably the more well-rounded player in comparison to McKenzie, whose big-play ability is his greatest strength.
Cracraft became a training camp story for the Broncos, making incredible catches and earning some looks with the first-team offense. This is a move the Broncos have been readying themselves for since the Summer, and now Cracraft has a chance to make good on their investment in him, which stretches over a full calendar year at this point.
The Broncos brought in Cracraft as a practice squad player in 2017, but he was injured in his first week of practice and released. The team brought him back when he got healthy and added him on a reserve/futures deal this past offseason.
He will now have a chance to prove against the Texans that he belongs on the active roster for the remainder of the season, even if the team intends to utilize DaeSean Hamilton more heavily after the bye week next week.
Cracraft’s route running and soft hands make him a safe outlet for quarterback Case Keenum. Hopefully he gets a chance to make some plays on Sunday.