How KJ Hamler Fits with the Denver Broncos

By Nick Polak on April 25, 2020 at 10:15 am
Former Penn State Wide Receiver KJ Hamler
Matthew O'Haren- USA TODAY Sports

Oh boy, this could be fun.

In the second round of the NFL Draft, the Broncos selected Penn State's KJ Hamler and added to what is suddenly a lethal-looking offense in Denver. After prioritizing the offensive side of the ball (with good reason) in several drafts in a row, the Broncos offense now includes the following players (among others):

  • Quarterback: Drew Lock
  • Running Backs: Phillip Lindsay, Melvin Gordon, Royce Freeman
  • Wide Receivers: Cortland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, DaeSean Hamilton, Tim Patrick
  • Tight Ends: Noah Fant, Jeff Heuerman, Troy Fumagalli, Jake Butt (holy Big Ten)

If Drew Lock can build on his impressive late-season debut in 2019, this offense could be scary good not only in 2020 but for several years going forward, considering the youth of the unit as a whole.

As far as the short-term outlook for Hamler, the range of options on offense will allow the Broncos to bring him along at whatever pace they deem comfortable. Fellow Penn Stater DaeSean Hamilton had an uneven start to his career but seemed to develop some chemistry with Lock in 2019. Hamilton primarily plays out of the slot in Denver, which is where Hamler likely projects, as well. Given the number of options and the proclivity of Lock to let it rip from the pocket, they will certainly run their fair share of four-receiver sets. That will mean Sutton, Jeudy, Hamilton, and Hamler all on the field at once. Talk about a nightmare for defensive backs. Hamler will also provide a boost in the kick and punt return game after Dionte Spencer was just average in that role a year ago.

Long-term, the Broncos will likely have a decision to make between Hamilton and Hamler in two years when Hamilton's rookie deal is up (unless one of them is shipped out of town before then). Ignoring that, once given time to adjust to the NFL game and bulk up a bit to handle NFL hits, Hamler should work his way into a full-time slot receiver job and the full-time return man for at least one of kickoffs or punts.

The addition of Hamler (and Jeudy) gives the Broncos one of the league's top receiving units. The downfield dominance of Sutton, the precise route-running of Jeudy, the sure-hands of Hamilton, and the electric, explosive play-making of Hamler combine to form a versatile and deep group that will provide plenty of fireworks.