Denver Broncos: Who is Kendall Hinton, this week’s starting QB?

Aug 25, 2020; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Kendall Hinton (2) during training camp at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 25, 2020; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Kendall Hinton (2) during training camp at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Who is Kendall Hinton, the Denver Broncos’ emergency starting QB?

The Denver Broncos are being forced to get creative at the quarterback position with all four of their actual quarterbacks being ruled ineligible for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

With no quarterbacks available and no time to sign anyone for a single game, the Broncos are turning to rookie free agent Kendall Hinton, a converted wide receiver out of Wake Forest who has been on the practice squad since November 4.

Hinton began his college career at Wake Forest as a quarterback. He was a three-star recruit in high school and considered one of the top dual-threat quarterback prospects in the country by in the class of 2015.

As a true freshman, he started multiple games and played quite a bit otherwise, throwing for 929 yards and rushing for seven touchdowns.

In 2016, he came off the bench to lead Wake Forest to a win against Duke but was lost the very next week to a season-ending injury, earning a medical redshirt in the process.

In his redshirt sophomore season, Hinton was the backup to John Wolford and got one spot start due to Wolford suffering an injury, and he wound up throwing a pair of touchdowns and rushing for 92 yards in a loss to Clemson.

In 2018, he switched to the wide receiver position. By 2019, Hinton became a 1,000-yard receiver for the Demon Deacons.

And speak the world of him his high school coach does.

In an article for The Gazette, Hinton’s high school coach said that the NFL and Broncos are going to see something ‘special’ on Sunday.

This guy is a phenomenal athlete if nothing else. To get recruited by a bunch of power-five schools as a dual-threat quarterback only to become a 1,000-yard receiver in the ACC after playing the position all of two years?

Not to mention, he then made it onto an NFL club in a bizarre, shortened offseason.

Hinton has certainly done his part to impress up to this point, but he’s going up against one of the NFL’s best teams on Sunday in the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints have not exactly played a lineup of the NFL’s best rushing attacks this year, but they have done their part, ranking second in the league in rushing yards and yards per attempt allowed.

When he’s asked to throw the football, he’s going to have to make good decisions with the ball, but don’t be shocked to see the Broncos try to run the ball 40 or more times in his NFL debut.

Hinton is getting arguably the rarest opportunity in recent Denver Broncos history. The Broncos had four quarterbacks to protect themselves from something like this happening, and the crazy — seemingly unlikely — circumstances are now a reality.

And how amazing is that for this young player from Raleigh, NC? Hinton has not been a protected practice squad player. He was not even part of the initial 16-player practice squad the Broncos assembled. He was brought in two months after the season started despite competing in camp with the Broncos.

Clearly the coaching staff and front office saw something they liked in Hinton, but in no one’s wildest dreams did they envision him getting a start in the 11th game of the regular season against the NFC’s top-seeded New Orleans Saints.

The good news for the Broncos is, the Saints don’t have a lick of tape on Hinton. Maybe they don’t need it, but they will have to hope that whatever they devise to stop the Broncos’ offense is better than what Vic Fangio dials up for Taysom Hill and the Saints’ offense, which will be without its starting left tackle and left guard.

There is no doubt this could be an overwhelming moment for Hinton, who is seeing his first-ever NFL action in the weirdest possible way, but Tom Brady had a fascinating quote he shared with Peyton Manning once that has always stood out.

He said he always tells young players that when you get your shot, take advantage because you never know when — or if — you’ll get another one.

If you’re Kendall Hinton, how can the stars align better than this? He’s getting his shot on a huge stage and hopefully he can make enough plays to help the Broncos to a win.