Denver Broncos WR era now a tragic what-if scenario

The Denver Broncos wide receiver group that never was...

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With the season-ending injury to Tim Patrick and the scary heart condition from KJ Hamler, the much anticipated WR room, which also included Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, appears to be done for. This was a room that got so much hype over the last few seasons, and injuries plagued all of the players in this room.

The 2023 slew if injuries and ailments appear to be the final straw, which is so unfortunate. Let's highlight the emergence of the players in this room and the sad timeline with their various injuries:

In 2020, the Denver Broncos took two wide receivers with their first two draft picks. They drafted Jerry Jeudy in the first round and KJ Hamler in the second round. This was clearly a push to surround then Broncos-QB Drew Lock with enough talent on offense to develop.

This offseason was also one where many people were looking at a potential breakout player in Tim Patrick, and boy they were right. Unfortunately, Courtland Sutton, who was, at this time, the clear-cut WR1 of this room, went down early in the 2020 NFL season with a torn ACL against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It was the first game of the season, too, and this season was right after his breakout, Pro Bowl 2019 season, so it was likely going to be a huge year for the former SMU product. KJ Hamler played in 13 games during this season and managed to grab just 30 receptions for 381 yards and three touchdowns.

Jerry Jeudy had a very strong rookie season. He caught 52 passes for 856 yards and three touchdowns. Well, in 2021, the room was again looking promising, and with a competent QB in place in Teddy Bridgewater, many thought that the Denver Broncos' WR room was finally ready to take off.

That was not the case. KJ Hamler played in just three games and caught five passes for 74 yards. He was essentially non-existent. Jerry Jeudy played in just 10 games in 2021 with a bad ankle. He caught just 38 passes for 467 yards. Sutton, who was right off a rehabbed ACL injury, was clearly not his 2019 self, so that made things a bit worse.

Tim Patrick did play in 16 games and caught 53 receptions for 734 yards and five touchdowns. Well, after the 2021 season, we once again hyped the room up for 2022, only for it to once again deal with injuries. It was Tim Patrick's turn to get hurt; he tore his ACL in the 2022 offseason and missed the entire year.

KJ Hamler again missed most of the season, playing in just seven games and amassing 165 receiving yards. Both Sutton and Jeudy played in 15 games last year and did have solid seasons. Jeudy nearly hit the 1,000-yard mark and had a career-high six touchdown catches. Would we finally see the room together and healthy for 2023?

No, unfortunately.

Tim Patrick again suffered a season-ending injury, and this time it was an Achilles. The Denver Broncos also recently waived KJ Hamler with a heart condition that should take about a month to recover from. There seems to be an indication that Hamler will return to the Broncos once he is healthy, but there has been no guarantee that Hamler even returns to the roster, let alone suits up and gets on the field for the Broncos.

Now, this room of WRs who oozed potential seems to be over. I don't think Tim Patrick returns in the 2024 NFL season for the Broncos. He'd be entering his age-31 season. KJ Hamler is also likely either going to re-sign with the Broncos and hit free agency next year or simply not be re-signed. There are some newer and younger faces in this room now, and I think it's time we pay more attention to them.

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Second-round draft pick Marvin Mims Jr appears to be someone who could slide into that speedster WR role that Hamler was supposed to fill. Free agency addition Marquez Callaway had very solid success with Sean Payton back in 2021, and other young faces like Montrell Washington and Brandon Johnson could certainly leave their mark.

It's an unfortunate ending to a room that had the potential to be one of the very best in the NFL.

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