Denver Broncos could have huge and underrated need for 2023

Denver Broncos, Russell Wilson (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, Russell Wilson (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos’ 2022 season is off to a bit of a rocky start, and I think it has revealed the potential for an underrated roster need in 2023.  It’s never too early to begin thinking about the upcoming draft.

The Denver Broncos, at this time, are set to not have a ton of picks in the ’23 draft, obviously because of the haul they had to give up to get Russell Wilson.  It’s a good problem to have, as the Broncos have an elite quarterback, and yes, I do believe this offense will figure it out.  I think we simply have to be patient.  Every elite quarterback in the NFL today has struggled at times during their career for various reasons.  I don’t think Russell Wilson is an exception.

Anyway, through the first three weeks, the team has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start.  While the defense has been nothing short of excellent, the offense has been one of the worst in the NFL.  And during this time, I’ve seen a need pop up for 2023 that I don’t think is being talked about enough as something to prioritize.  Many in Broncos Country would say that the offensive line might be the biggest need for the Broncos going forward, but I disagree.

I think the wide receiver position could be a huge need for the Denver Broncos in 2023.  Here’s why.

Wide receiver is an underrated need for the Denver Broncos in 2023

1. Courtland Sutton

Courtland Sutton is the unquestioned #1 receiver for the Denver Broncos.  He’s off to a great start with Russell Wilson, and it’s clear that he’s been his favorite target.  Sutton ranks fifth in the NFL with 291 receiving yards, and this total puts him on pace for 1,649 yards on the season.

He’ll be 27 this year, so he’s still in his prime, and is locked up for the future, so the receiver room will continue to go through him.

2. Jerry Jeudy

Jerry Jeudy is an interesting case.   He’s got 130 receiving yards on the season, which puts him on pace for 737 yards in 2022.  Definitely not a bad number, but for a first-round pick, perhaps not ideal.  Jeudy was supposed to be the lighting to Sutton’s thunder, and between inconsistent play, drops here and there, and some injuries, Jeudy hasn’t put a desirable product together so far.

Who’s to say he’ll magically figure it out this year and become a reliable pass catcher?  At this moment, he’s just been another guy.  His rookie season was promising, but year two was quite disappointing, and year three hasn’t been spectacular so far.

3. KJ Hamler

KJ Hamler is a fan favorite, but on the field, he’s given the Broncos virtually nothing.  He hasn’t caught a pass this season.  He was a second-round pick back in 2020, and he’s given the Broncos 455 career receiving yards.

It’s clear that he’s not going to be 100% because of the return from his injury, and that’s not ideal.  It’s understandable, but he likely won’t be 100% at any point during this season, which would make it 3/3 seasons in the NFL where he hasn’t done a whole lot.

Again, are people just assuming that he’ll be solid for the Broncos because of his high draft status?  If anything, unless something changes, I think he’s an early roster bubble candidate for 2023.  Hopefully, he can play beyond his injury and put up some decent numbers for the Broncos in 2022.

4. Tim Patrick

Tim Patrick tore his ACL this offseason and won’t be able to return at any point this year, but he’ll be back for 2023.  Patrick is as solid as they come.  He isn’t going to be a 1,000-yard guy, but he’s one of the most hard-working and respectable players in the NFL.

He has a clear role on the Denver Broncos, and the offense should be thrilled to get him back next year.  Tim Patrick will be 29 this season, so he’d begin his 2023 campaign entering his age-30 season, which is that dreaded age that players eventually hit.

Tim Patrick won’t immediately be 100% when he takes the field again in 2023, and he likely won’t return to his 2020 or 2021 form immediately.  Couple that with his age, and I think you could see a scenario play out similarly to what we’ve seen with KJ Hamler thus far.

5. The rest

The rest are unproven and could end up being some depth options to carry through the years.  Guys like Tyrie Cleveland, Jalen Virgil, and Kendall Hinton could stick around as depth pieces, but none of them have shown anything to indicate they can be regular contributors.

Then you have someone like Montrell Washington, a rookie who has shown some flashes already.  I do think Washington has a chance to really make an impact in this receiver room for the Denver Broncos in 2023 and beyond.

When you look at some of the good offenses in the NFL, they have many things in common, and one of them is having two reliable receivers. The Bills have Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis.  The Buccaneers have Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.  The Cowboys had Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb.  The Vikings have Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.  The Eagles have AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith.

You see, the Broncos could have up to four of these types of players in Sutton, Jeudy, Patrick, and Hamler, but outside of Sutton, I don’t see a clear and reliable running mate for 2023.