Key Broncos veteran could be better than expected coming off of injury

Tim Patrick is BACK
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

Going into the 2024 offseason, no one even knew if the Denver Broncos were going to keep wide receiver Tim Patrick. After two straight years with devastating -- season-ending -- knee and Achilles injuries, it looked like Patrick was at the proverbial fork in the road. He and the Broncos worked out a revised one-year deal for him to remain in Denver, and this offseason, Tim Patrick has been back in a big way.

Sure, the pads aren't on. It's still very early. But with reports coming out of Broncos mandatory minicamp all indicating the same thing, it feels like Tim Patrick could be making a rather impressive comeback in the 2024 season.

According to Cody Roark of Mile High Sports, the Broncos gave Patrick a lot of reps with each offensive unit (first team, second team, third team) and he got work with each of the three quarterbacks. Considering this was the first time this offseason (that we know of) in which Patrick participated in the "team" portion of practice, the fact that he stood out in such a big way is not a small deal.

Head coach Sean Payton spoke after practice about what the veteran receiver brings to the table:

"Just those intangibles. I do know and obviously have seen healthy tape. Granted I wasn’t here, but I kind of have an idea or vision for the player. Then all the other things that he brings relative to his competitiveness, his versatility. He’s a great teammate. I think he’s an important part of the locker room, so it’s good to see him more and be smart with that."

Sean Payton (via Broncos PR)

Having a healthy Tim Patrick would be massive for a rookie QB like Bo Nix, the presumptive starter going into Week 1 of the 2024 season (although Sean Payton isn't in a rush to make that announcement).

When we last saw Patrick playing healthy, he was kind of dominant in ways. He barely ever drops passes. He gets open at all levels of the field. He's a big threat in the red zone. He makes plays after the catch. He blocks well in the running game.

Not to overly hype him up, but Tim Patrick is a really good player. Broncos fans know this. There's no doubt that he's an asset to the roster when he's healthy, but we all went into the 2024 offseason having absolutely no idea what he was going to look like out there after two major injuries. Nobody knew whether he was going to still have the type of explosiveness required to play that position. Heck, some people have even thrown the idea out there of Tim Patrick playing tight end.

That's a little over the top, but it gives you an idea of where people are at in terms of their expectations with him.

The Broncos need to see these good vibes keep on rolling as Courtland Sutton finally returned to the practice field for mandatory minicamp (albeit on a limited basis) and there's a chance we could finally see a return to the field for tight end Greg Dulcich this week (foot).