Denver Broncos: When is KJ Hamler going to show up?

Denver Broncos wide receiver KJ Hamler. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos wide receiver KJ Hamler. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Broncos wide receiver KJ Hamler is in a crucial second year, and with Jerry Jeudy out of the lineup, Hamler should enjoy success, right?

I know it’s only been two games, but Denver Broncos wide receiver KJ Hamler is nowhere to be seen.

With Jerry Jeudy out of the lineup for the next several weeks, the former Penn State product should be the next man up.

Even with a healthy Jerry Jeudy, Hamler was getting plenty attention.  He apparently had a great offseason and put on some weight.

Coming into a crucial year two, Hamler was seen as a breakout candidate for the Denver Broncos, being that his speed rivals the likes of Tyreek Hill and Henry Ruggs III.

In week 1 against the Giants, Hamler had an OK game, and he dropped what would have been a long touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater.

After Jerry Jeudy went down that game with a high ankle sprain, many looked at Hamler to pick up the pace, starting with a bad Jaguars defense.

Instead, Hamler caught 1 pass for 5 yards; he was nowhere to be found in week 2, and wasn’t exactly stellar in week 1, either.

I’m still waiting for Hamler to become a more consistent contributor, and being that he was a high second-round pick, that should be the bare minimum.

The Denver Broncos have a very favorable schedule this year in regard to passing defenses, so Hamler has had and will have ample opportunity to produce.

Melvin Gordon has produced more in the passing game than KJ has thus far, and Albert Okwuegbunam has caught three more passes through two weeks.

I’ve been hard on Hamler since his rookie season–frankly, I think Hamler was the wrong pick during the 2020 NFL Draft.

I get that he’s still just 22 years old, so he should have a long career ahead of him, however, he has a unique skill set that the Broncos need to keep their offenses up to pace with the rest of their division mates.

This is one of the downsides of a receiver like Hamler; there are quite a few like him.

Since his best quality is his speed, he’ll make his money outrunning defenders and catching long passes.  Being that he’s very small, his durability is a concern as well.

He battled a few injuries in his rookie season, and is more of a speedster than an NFL caliber receiver.

Listen, I hope KJ Hamler proves me wrong and explodes the rest of the season, but the Jaguars game was a perfect opportunity for Hamler to begin to assert his dominance as a quality receiver in the NFL.

The Broncos do have 15 games left, and Hamler appears to be fully healthy, so I am looking for more production from the second-year player, especially with the absence of Jerry Jeudy.

Even with the Broncos schedule getting a bit harder as the season goes on, there are still some favorable matchups for the passing attack with games against the Raiders, Lions and Bengals.

However, the Teddy Bridgewater-led passing attack has carved up a good Giants secondary and bad Jaguars secondary, so maybe this offense can enjoy success, even against better secondaries they’ll play like the Ravens, Steelers, and Browns.

Next week, the Denver Broncos will play the New York Jets, and the Jets may be even worse than the Jaguars, so perhaps the passing offense will play well yet again.

Being that the Broncos will be home and looking to start 3-0, the Broncos will be heavily favored, so expecting a big game from KJ Hamler shouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility, especially since Sutton may not be 100% healed from his knee injury, even if he enjoyed a career day against the lowly Jaguars.

If he can’t improve on his pedestrian rookie season, then I’d begin to worry about his long-term outlook with the Broncos.