3 significant questions for the Denver Broncos at wide receiver

Denver Broncos Mandatory Minicamp
Denver Broncos Mandatory Minicamp / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

The Denver Broncos definitely enhanced their wide receiver room this offseason, but there are still some burning questions that remain for the unit going into 2023. If all goes well, the Broncos' wide receiver room may not only be the best unit on the roster, but one of the best units in the entire NFL, regardless of position.

Their projected top three WRs of Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and Tim Patrick could quickly turn into one of the NFL's best if Sean Payton and Russell Wilson are on the same page. Projected backups like Marquez Callaway and Marvin Mims Jr could also carve out decent-sized roles in the offense if all goes well, too.

I think the wide receiver room is on an upward trend. Tim Patrick is back from his torn ACL and the additions of Callaway and Mims are going to at least help boost the floor of this unit. However, I can still identify three burning questions for this unit heading into the 2023 season.

There is a bit of uncertainty with this unit even though they made progress in fixing it this offseason.

3 significant questions for the Denver Broncos at wide receiver

1. Will Tim Patrick bounce back to his old ways after his torn ACL?

Every player in the history of professional sports recovers from injuries at different paces and in different ways. Tim Patrick is not a robot and surely had a bump or two in the road during his ACL recovery. I think knee injuries are perhaps the worst types of injuries that NFL players can suffer besides head injuries.

The concern I have for Patrick is if he can bounce back to his old ways during the 2020-2021 seasons where he caught at least 51 passes for 734 yards and five touchdowns in each season. That kind of production was potentially missing from the Broncos' offense in 2022, and I think Patrick's absence was very noticeable.

Can Patrick return to his normal efficient self, and will his turning 30 impact that? Will Patrick's age begin to slowly catch up to him? He's not young anymore and is coming off a major knee injury. Patrick should have a very specific and important role in the offense, and if he can't get back to his old self, he may fall out of favor in the offense and may not be a part of the Broncos after 2023.

3 significant questions for the Denver Broncos at wide receiver

2. Were additions of Marvin Mims Jr and Marquez Callaway enough to keep the room stocked?

The one big issue with the wide receiver room in the last couple of years has been the inadequate depth. We've seen the top three receivers all missed time because of injuries, and the depth pieces just haven't cut it. Names like Kendall Hinton, Montrell Washington, Jalen Virgil, Brandon Johnson, and others have simply not been able to even provide depth-level production.

Primary backups now appear to be both Marvin Mims Jr and Marquez Callaway, who are both talented football players. I've seen Mims compared to Brandin Cooks, and Callaway had over 600 receiving yards in 2021 playing with Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints. If one of Jeudy, Sutton, or Patrick, the top three, were to miss time, could Mims and Callaway pick up the slack in their absence?

3. Can Jerry Jeudy handle the WR1 duties?

In Jerry Jeudy's three NFL seasons, he's had to deal with the following at quarterback: an inefficient Drew Lock in 2020, Teddy Bridgewater, who doesn't throw the ball more than five yards down the field, and an inefficient Russell Wilson in 2022. Even with those poor QB situations, Jeudy's 17-game averages over his first three seasons come out to: 65 receptions, 952 yards, and four touchdowns.

That is low-end WR1 production. It's production that gets someone paid but they aren't elite numbers. I do think Jeudy's production has been impressive when you consider what he's had to deal with at the position. The big question now is if he can handle the WR1 duties.

After 2022, there is no question that Jerry Jeudy is the WR1 of the Denver Broncos, and Sean Payton has even said they have big plans for him. Well, I like Wilson's chances of bouncing back and Sean Payton certainly knows how to use his best wide receivers. Check out some of the WR seasons in New Orleans among players like Michael Thomas, Brandin Cooks, and Marques Colston.

Jeudy is likely going to be targeted a ton, perhaps targeted as much as some of the top wide receivers in the NFL. Can he handle that workload? If he can, the Broncos will be in excellent shape, but if Jeudy has some inconsistencies, I think we'll see Payton utilize other wide receivers more.

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