Montrell Washington

Broncos WR KJ Hamler Ruled Out With Hamstring Injury

After injuring his hamstring this Wednesday in practice, Broncos slot receiver KJ Hamler will not be available this Sunday when the team travels to Nashville, according to Troy Renck of Denver7. This leaves Denver’s receiving corps down two men as Tim Patrick remains on injured reserve after a preseason ACL tear.

Renck points out that the absence of Hamler is especially damaging as the Titans have struggled to defend the middle of the field against slot receivers this season. The natural replacement for Hamler in the slot would this year’s fifth-round pick Montrell Washington. The rookie out of Samford has only amassed three catches for five yards this year in limited time but physically represents the best matchup in the slot.

Whoever the Broncos line up in the slot should get plenty of opportunities with wideouts Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy drawing attention on the perimeter. The Broncos could also see plenty of production from tight ends Greg Dulcich, Eric Saubert, and Albert Okwuegbunam across the middle.

The Broncos haven’t quite had the season they were hoping for after acquiring quarterback Russell Wilson in a trade with Seattle this offseason. Denver is hoping that the offensive momentum from the team’s win over Jacksonville two weeks ago will carry through the bye week into this week’s matchup with the Titans. Losing Hamler as a target in the middle of the field hurts, but Wilson and company can still capitalize against the Titans’ perceived weakness.

Broncos WR KJ Hamler Out For Week 2

After the position was seen as a strength entering the season, the Broncos’ situation at wide receiver is being tested early in the campaign. KJ Hamler will miss Denver’s Week 2 game against the Texans, reports NFL Network’s James Palmer (Twitter link). 

The 23-year-old will sit out as he continues to deal with lingering pain stemming from the knee and hip surgeries he underwent last year. As Palmer notes, “it took a lot” just for Hamler to be available for the Broncos’ regular season opener in Seattle. He played 40 snaps in that contest, his first action since Week 3 of the 2021 campaign.

“Part of the maintenance,” head coach Nathaniel Hackett said, via 9News’ Mike Klis, when asked about Hamler missing the entire week of practice. “We want to make sure we get him to [play] as many games as we possibly can.”

A second-rounder in 2020, Hamler has been limited to just 17 games so far in his NFL career. His receptions (35) and yardage (455) totals fall short of what he and the team would have expected given his college production, though his yards-per-catch average of 13.0 demonstrates the vertical speed he was drafted to provide. Expectations are high in 2022, just as they are for the rest of Denver’s skill-position corps, given the presence of Russell Wilson at quarterback.

With Hamler’s availability set to fluctuate from one game to the next, the loss of fellow wideout Tim Patrick to an ACL tear leaves Denver much thinner at the position than they were entering training camp. Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy will likely see an increase in targets, but Tyrie Cleveland along with rookies Montrell Washington and Jerry Virgil are among the options to step into a starting slot role. The inexperienced trio will likely be in and out of the rotation as the team continues managing Hamler’s situation.

“It’s such a unique deal what happened to him,” Hackett added. “He’s been doing some great things, been getting some great reps, did good last game. We just want to be sure we got him for the whole season.”

Broncos Notes: Hamilton, Washington, Risner

As the official takeover of the Broncos by the Rob Walton-led group draws nearer, another significant name has been added to the list of people set to become the franchise’s new owners. Less than one month after Condoleezza Rice joined the group, the team announced a second noteworthy arrival.

Seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has joined the ownership group, per a statement from Walton. It added that the team is “delighted” to bring the 37-year-old into the fold, and that his “resilient sprit and and standard of excellence will be an asset to the ownership group and the Broncos organization.”

In 2020, Hamilton became the all-time winningest driver in the series’ history in terms of grand Prix victories, adding to his lengthy list of individual records. His seven World Championships place him in a tie for the No. 1 spot in that regard. He represents another unique addition to the expanding ownership group, which is expected to be confirmed via a league vote later this month.

Here are couple other notes from the Mile High City:

  • Rookie receiver Montrell Washington faces steep competition for snaps on offense, given the presence of Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and KJ Hamler. He could earn a role on special teams right away, however; Troy Renck of Denver7 reports that Washington is currently the frontrunner to be the team’s punt returner. During his career at Samford, the fifth-rounder showcased his ability in the third phase, averaging 16.4 yards per punt return, totaling four touchdowns in that department. Renck adds that Washington has also impressed as a receiver, so a rotational role (especially in the absence of Tim Patrick, who will likely miss the 2022 campaign with a torn ACL) isn’t out of the question.
  • Left guard Dalton Risner has shed considerable weight this offseason, per Renck. The 27-year-old has dropped to just over 300 pounds, having previously came in at 325. A full-time starter in each of his three seasons with the team, Risner will be a key member of the Broncos’ offensive line, widely regarded as the x-factor in the offense’s 2022 success with Russell Wilson and a highly-regarded group of skill position players surrounding him.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/12/22

Thursday has featured several rookie deals finalized. Here are the mid- and late-round draftees to sign their four-year contracts today:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

  • WR Montrell Washington (fifth round, Samford)

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • RB Snoop Conner (fifth round, Ole Miss)
  • CB Gregory Junior (sixth round, Ouachita Baptist)
  • CB Montaric Brown (seventh round, Arkansas)

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans