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Five wide receivers the Denver Broncos should consider in the NFL Draft

Henry Chisholm Avatar
April 24, 2024

The Denver Broncos have plenty of receivers. At least four or five are worthy of playing time.

They might be short on trustworthy starters, though.

Courtland Sutton, 28, is a sure thing. He’s a starter.

Josh Reynolds, 29, has started games recently, but his career-best is 618 receiving yards.

Tim Patrick, 30, was a starter for the Broncos but missed the last two seasons with injuries. Who knows if he’ll be able to stay healthy, or what he’ll look like if he does?

Marvin Mims, 22, showed flashes as a second-round rookie, but he finished with 377 yards, in part because he’s still developing a full route tree.

Others like Lil’Jordan Humphrey, 26, Brandon Johnson, 25, and Jalen Virgil, 25, have shown flashes but probably aren’t ready for starting conversations.

Do the Broncos need a receiver? Not necessarily. They have plenty.

But there’s certainly room for another.

Here’s who the Broncos should keep an eye on in the draft…

Brian Thomas Jr., LSU

Range: First Round

The Broncos would have to trade up to get any of the top three receivers. Given their lack of excess resources, I doubt they’d be willing to move up for anything other than a quarterback.

That means the likely top wide receiver they could get their hands on is the clear No. 4 wideout in this year’s draft.

Thomas is easy to like. He’s 6-foot-3, 209 pounds and ran a 4.33 40-yard dash. He led the country with 17 touchdowns.

Thomas is at his best on deep routes; streaks, posts, fades, etc. He isn’t polished underneath but given how he uses his body to box out, he should be able to round out the route tree enough to make noise in the middle of the field.

But if you’re drafting Thomas, you’re drafting him because he can get behind defenses and provide huge plays. And he’s really good at that.

Keon Coleman, Florida State

Range: Day 2

Coleman isn’t a great separator. His routes aren’t perfect but they’re improving. The big problem is his 4.61-second 40-yard dash.

But if you can accept that he isn’t a burner, you’ll be adding a highlight reel to your team.

Coleman makes freaky catches. Some are with one hand. Some are through tight windows. Some are 11 feet in the air. He’s a freak.

His 658 yards last season are unremarkable for a draft prospect, but his 11 touchdowns stand out. He’s a big play monster and if he continues to sharpen his routes, he could add enough volume to back up his highlights and find himself in the Pro Bowl.

Xavier Legette, South Carolina

Range: Day 2

I’m a big fan of Xavier Legette. Maybe too big. I think he should be a first-round pick.

He’s big, measuring in at 6-foot-1 and 221 pounds.

He’s fast enough to run a 4.39 40-yard dash.

He’s dynamic after the catch, particularly as a bulldozer.

He has great hands, especially when it comes to jump balls.

And he can block.

Legette can give you a 50-yard touchdown on a deep ball or a drag route. That’s a rare combination.

At 23 years old, Legette will be an older rookie. He is still raw. He finished top 10 in the country with 1255 receiving yards in 2023, but that was the first time in his career he had at least 200.

Legette reminds me of a blend of Deebo Samuel and Demaryius Thomas. But maybe there’s some Laviska Shenault in there, which doesn’t paint as rosy of a picture.

Brenden Rice, USC

Range: Day 2 or 3

Rice is a prototypical X receiver.

He’s a little over 6-foot-2 and pushing 210 pounds. His arms are long. He’s hands are massive. His 4.50 40-yard dash isn’t flashy, but it’s enough to get the job done.

The son of Jerry Rice transferred from Colorado to USC ahead of the 2022 seasons. Last season, he caught 45 balls for 791 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Rice can win on just about any route thanks to his size. He’s a solid catch-and-run threat. USC moved him around the formation but he was best when he was isolated one-on-one with a cornerback.

Plus, Rice is great working in scramble drills.

The Broncos have Courtland Sutton to fill their No. 1 receiver role, but trade rumors have swirled for years and Rice could take over that role after a year of development if the Broncos are actually ready to move on.

Luke McCaffrey, Rice

Range: Day 3

This is a homer pick, but I think McCaffrey would be a great fit in Denver.

McCaffrey is the son of Broncos great Ed McCaffrey. He grew up in Castle Rock. He’d be a hometown hero if the Broncos draft him.

But he’s also a good prospect. A much better prospect than I expected.

McCaffrey was the top recruit in Colorado in 2019. He committed to play quarterback at Nebraska. Things didn’t go well. By 2022, he was a wide receiver at Rice.

In 2023, McCaffrey caught 71 balls for 992 yards and an AAC-leading 13 touchdowns.

McCaffrey isn’t as tall as his father. He’s 6-foot-1.5 and 198 pounds. But McCaffrey clocked in with a 4.46-second 40-yard dash, which was a tick faster than his brother Christian. McCaffrey shined in the short-area quickness drills.

McCaffrey is probably a slot receiver in the NFL. He’s tough over the middle. He has great hands. He doesn’t have blow-you-away speed but he makes do with what he has. He’s smart, gritty and could be a very reliable red zone and third-down target in the NFL.

The Broncos have a handful of receivers worthy of playing time, but they don’t have a true slot receiver. McCaffrey might be able to fill that role on Day 1, although his ceiling may not be very high.

Don’t miss the five quarterbacks the Broncos should consider!

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Don’t miss the five tight ends the Broncos should consider!

Don’t miss the five interior offensive linemen the Broncos should consider!

Don’t miss the five cornerbacks the Broncos should consider!

Don’t miss the five tackles the Broncos should consider!


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