Under The Microscope: Broncos rookie WR KJ Hamler

The Denver Broncos offense looks to put up more points in 2020 after averaging only 17 points per game in 2019. Rookie WR KJ Hamler will play a big role.

The Denver Broncos approached the 2019 off-season with one goal in mind: surround second-year quarterback Drew Lock with offensive weapons. The Broncos drafted wide receiver Jerry Jeudy 15th overall with their first-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. General manager John Elway decided to add more speed by selecting rookie WR KJ Hamler with the team’s second-round pick. In 2020, Hamler will play an imperative role for the Broncos offensively, in their attempt to score more points.

Hamler will be the focus of today’s ‘Under The Microscope’ series as we continue to analyze the Broncos rookies, and what their path towards playing time will be in 2020.

The PFN Mock Draft Simulator features over 350 prospects, free trades (including future year picks), the option to control any number of teams, and the ability for you to choose your own draft speed. Build your favorite team into a winner – click here to enter the PFN Mock Draft Simulator!

How will KJ Hamler help the Broncos at WR during his rookie season?

The Broncos offense struggled in various categories of production in 2019. Offensively, they ranked 28th in Net Yards Per Game (298.6), 26th in Yards Per Play (5.0), 28th in Points Per Game (17.6), 30th on Third Down Pct. (31.7%), and 28th in Red Zone Pct. (47.6%) in 2019. These are areas where the Broncos will need to improve on in 2020 if they hope to compete against the Kansas City Chiefs and the rest of the AFC West.

The traits that Hamler possesses at the WR position could help the Broncos improve in those offensive categories listed above. His 4.3 speed will be important for opposing defensive coordinators to account for regardless if Hamler lines up in the slot or on the outside. Despite Hamler’s size at 5’9, he doesn’t avoid contact as a blocker in run support.

Related | Under The Microscope: Broncos rookie DT McTelvin Agim

As a route runner, Hamler is well-established when it comes to out-breaking routes, routes that require him to break inside, and those that expand across the middle of the field and the vertical seams. His combination of speed and his route-running ability will make him a focal point against opposing defenses in 2020.

Some of the early concerns with Hamler surrounded the dropped passes that he had while at Penn State. Elway discussed these concerns in his post-draft press conference shortly after the team selected Hamler 46th overall.

“When we looked at KJ in practice with those drops, they weren’t because he had bad ball skills. They were because he didn’t concentrate watching it. That was something that we felt like, in talking to Vic, that we could coach and made him better with that. Even though he did have some drops, we felt like we could coach him through that, and he could get better with it.”

Due to the pandemic impacted off-season, Hamler is one of many rookies across the National Football League who didn’t get the opportunity to participate in OTAs or voluntary workouts at their team’s facilities. It’s expected for many Broncos rookies that there will be an adjustment period that could impact how fast some of them do see the field once the season begins in September.

Without an NFL preseason, players like Hamler will have to impress coaches and demonstrate knowledge of the playbook, landmarks with route concepts, and reliability as a blocker and receiver during the Broncos 14 padded practices leading up to their Week 1 home opener against the Tennessee Titans.

Despite the position depth, what is the path towards playing time for Broncos rookie WR KJ Hamler?

The Broncos will enter 2020 with Courtland Sutton as the team’s number one receiving threat. Jeudy is expected to be the Broncos number two WR behind Sutton, which creates competition for the team’s third spot on the depth chart at WR. Hamler, Tim Patrick, and DaeSean Hamilton will be competing for time on the field opposite Sutton and Jeudy.

In order for Hamler to see time on the field in offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s offense which relies a lot on three WR sets, he’ll have to demonstrate his understanding of the offense’s play calls, alignment in the slot or on the outside, and execute consistently in during practice.

Featured | Three Denver Broncos players with the most to prove in 2020

If Hamler doesn’t begin the season as the Broncos third WR, he will likely be utilized as a gadget-type player as he builds up more comfortability within the offense. Shurmur’s offense incorporates various concepts like reverses and jet motions, which aligns well with Hamler’s skillset as a player, due to his speed and presence on the football field.

Once Hamler becomes more acclimated on the field at the receiver position in the Broncos offense, he can become a key contributor in 2020. If Hamler does become a starter during his rookie season, the Broncos will find ways to attack opposing defenses downfield. As the Broncos look to improve statistically on offense in 2020, Hamler could become one of the key players that helps the team improve on third down, in the red-zone, and help them score more points.

For more Broncos content and coverage, follow us on Twitter: @BroncosPFN

 

Cody Roarkhttps://www.codyroarknfl.com
Cody Roark is the Managing Editor of the Denver Broncos Vertical on Pro Football Network. Cody is also an NFL Analyst and Broncos Insider for the Locked On NFL Network where he hosts a podcast called Locked On Broncos every single day. You can follow him on Twitter @CodyRoarkNFL and the Broncos Vertical @BroncosPFN

MORE BRONCOS COVERAGE

MORE FROM PRO FOOTBALL NETWORK

DENVER BRONCOS ARTICLES

The top safeties in the NFL according to Matt Williamson

Today's NFL has a wealth of young players at this position, and ranking the top 25 safeties heading into the 2020 season was a...

Broncos 2020 Training Camp Preview: Defensive Line

After an offseason that saw a Super Bowl champion on the defensive line depart in free agency, a former draft picks enter free agency,...

Broncos 2020 Training Camp Preview: Wide Receivers

The Denver Broncos have embraced adding more wide receivers to the mix as the team hopes to increase their offensive production in 2020. Heading...

Matt Williamson’s top 25 running backs in the NFL

There is a growing belief, most notably in the analytics sector of football analysis, that running backs don’t matter. Unlike in previous decades, this...

Broncos Training Camp Preview: Cornerback competition for 2020

With training camp officially underway for the Denver Broncos, plenty of players will be fighting at their respective positions for a spot on the...