Broncos add more speed at the hurting wide receiver position

Denver Broncos add Josh Malone to practice squad. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos add Josh Malone to practice squad. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos made another move to upgrade depth at wide receiver, signing former 4th-round pick Josh Malone to the practice squad.

It’s difficult to believe, but the Denver Broncos are hurting at the wide receiver position. What appeared to be the deepest position on the roster has become a major question mark early in the season after injuries to Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler.

After the season-ending injury suffered by Hamler, the Broncos made a move to poach David Moore off the Las Vegas Raiders practice squad.

The team didn’t get the kind of second-year jump they and many had been expecting from Tyrie Cleveland. Rookie Seth Williams made it through to the practice squad and the team obviously just doesn’t think he’s quite ready for action.

The Broncos have De’Mornay Pierson-El and the speedy Rico Gafford on the practice squad in addition to Cleveland and Williams already, but they have added yet another option with some big-time speed.

Denver Broncos sign Josh Malone to practice squad

The team announced it signed Josh Malone, technically a veteran, to the practice squad.

Malone is just 25 years old and was once a fourth-round pick out of Tennessee by the Cincinnati Bengals. His best trait? Speed, speed, and more speed.

Malone played his most extensive regular season action with the Bengals back in 2017 as a rookie, when he was actually credited with seven starts.

He finished the season with one touchdown grab and had six catches for 63 yards in total.

Since that rookie season, Malone has just five receptions for 28 yards and has appeared in just 15 games.

He did get some experience in 2020 with the New York Jets as a kickoff returner, taking back seven returns for 140 yards with a long of 40. Perhaps this signing was motivated, even ever so slightly, by the injury suffered by Diontae Spencer against the Baltimore Ravens.

At any rate, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Malone brings length and long speed to the wide receiver position for the Broncos, a position on the team that shockingly needs some significant help at this point in the season.

I won’t be surprised if the team continues tinkering with the wide receiver position, if only until Jerry Jeudy comes back healthy from his ankle injury.

At this point, no one knows exactly when that will be and the Broncos’ offense has understandably struggled a bit in his absence. Jeudy was a player that could find a way to get open on just about every route he ran.

Malone is just 25 years of age, so even though this is his fifth year in the NFL already, there may be brighter days ahead.

One interesting connection for Malone with the Denver Broncos? Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni was a wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator with the Tennessee Volunteers program when Malone was a four-star player coming out of high school.

Azzanni has known Malone for a very long time, and coached him up in college. Perhaps he can once again get the best out of him in the NFL.

The Broncos have heavily emphasized speed in their recent player acquisitions, regardless of what position group the player is part of. Malone will fit right in with that and we’ll see if he sticks on the practice squad for a bit or if he’s just someone the Broncos want to have with a playbook in case of an emergency down the stretch this season.