Broncos' top receiver in 2023 may be someone other than Jerry Jeudy or Courtland Sutton

Tim Patrick will be returning from a torn ACL that forced him to miss the entire 2022 season, but he could be a major weapon in Sean Payton's offense.
Jun 13, 2022; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick (81) during mini camp
Jun 13, 2022; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick (81) during mini camp / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos have what could be one of the league's top wide receiver groups but the top two guys on the depth chart, Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, have battled injuries and inconsistency in their young careers.

Both of them have been the subject of many trade rumors dating back to last season and there's still no guarantee that such a move wouldn't happen, especially after the team traded up in the draft to use its first pick on a wide receiver, Marvin Mims Jr.

But one thing Broncos Country did not get to see any of last year was Russell Wilson playing with Tim Patrick, who tore his ACL in practice in early August and had to be shut down for the season.

It's easy to overlook Patrick, particularly when you factor in the high draft status of both Sutton and Jeudy. Patrick was an undrafted player who had to work his way up from the practice squad level to get to where he is. But Russell Wilson liked Patrick in camp last year and Sean Payton could view him as a major offensive piece.

Just take a look at what James Palmer of NFL Network had to say recently.

Looking back at those old New Orleans Saints teams with Payton and Drew Brees, it's not hard at all to envision Patrick playing the role that Marques Colston played so well for the Saints for so many years.

Patrick is not going to blow by you with his speed or overwhelm you with athleticism, but neither did Colston. He was just a constant in Payton's offense, doing everything that was asked of him and being the guy that Brees trusted the most. Despite being a seventh-round pick out of Hofstra, Colston finished his career with over 700 receptions.

Back then, the Saints had the much more heralded Joe Horn and Devery Henderson, once a second-round pick, on the roster, but it was Colston who overtook them as the No. 1 option in the passing game.

It may sound hard to believe that Sutton and Jeudy could become secondary options to Patrick, but things are going to look much different under Payton than they have in recent years.

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