Welcome to Broncos Country, youngsters. Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, and Lloyd Cushenberry III added much-needed firepower to the Denver Broncos’ offense via the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday and Friday. Two wide receivers and a center helped solidify Denver’s retooled ‘O’ under new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. General manager John Elway certainly wasn’t shy about rockin’ the franchises’ three Lombardi Trophies inside of his virtual setup for all to see when the draft jump-started Thursday evening. I thought it was a sweet touch to flaunt the shiny hardware. Heck, you want future draftees to get a glimpse of what Broncos’ culture is about, and it’s clearly all about becoming Super Bowl Champions. That’ll make any collegiate player hungry to begin their professional career.
In my last piece, I mentioned that Woody Paige of the Colorado Springs Gazette was dead set on Denver doing whatever they had to do to acquire Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jeudy with the No. 15-overall pick. Many fans and media professionals, including myself, thought Elway & Co. would have to pull the trigger and trade-up as high as No. 8 to get their man. Fortunately, he was ripe for the picking at 15. Jeudy, the Broncos’ number one choice at WR, was officially going to be donning Orange and Blue. The very next day after being drafted, Mr. Jeudy turned 21-years-old. Happy Birthday, Jerry.
Entering his third season in the NFL, Denver’s Pro Bowl WR Courtland Sutton was clamoring with excitement while being interviewed on Broncos TV after the selection of Jeudy. Why wouldn’t he be? Jerry’s superior route running ability and fluidity as Denver’s No. 2 WR from both the slot or on the outside opposite Sutton, will provide more free space and fewer blanket coverages for Courtland. Simply put, great pick. Who would the Broncos add to their talent pool with their next selection at No. 46-overall in the second round of the draft? Why not another WR? Yup. That’s what they did.
This time around, the Broncos went with a burner. Penn State Nittany Lions’ WR Hamler’s breathtaking speed and prowess as a slot receiver and kick returner made him their perfect target at No. 46. This past season, Hamler secured 56 footballs for 904 yards and eight touchdowns. Although he didn’t run the 40-yard dash during the NFL Combine, it truly didn’t matter. His in-game burst and elusiveness say it all. Within his first three or four steps after clutching the pigskin, he’s already at full speed. Mr. Hamler can flat fly. Just 20-years-old from Pontiac, MI, this Lil’ 5-foot-9, 176-pound dude is a threat to take it to the heezy with every touch. Here’s what Elway tweeted after selecting K.J.
“We’ve taken WR KJ Hamler from Penn State with the 46th overall pick. He’s an electric player with excellent speed and high character. KJ’s also an outstanding kickoff and punt returner who can help us on special teams,” Elway said.
Highlights of Hamler in the YouTube video below. He’s ridiculous, folks.
With the Broncos taking wideouts back-to-back with their first two picks, other offensive needs still demanded attention. Specifically, offensive line help. So, with the No. 83-overall selection in the third round of the draft, Denver gobbled-up Louisiana State Tigers’ All-American center Cushenberry III. Standing 6-foot-3 and moving the scale at 315-pounds, Mr. Cushenberry III is quicker than his size suggests. For a 315-pounder, I’d say a 5.27 second 40-yard dash time is pretty dad-gum good.
Agile in the trenches as well as down the field at the second level of defenses, Cushenberry III can straight-up play the center position. As a junior at LSU, Cushenberry III helped the Bayou Bengals reach a perfect 14-0 mark. LSU won the 2020 CFP National Championship with a 42-25 victory over the Clemson Tigers. Lloyd started 27 consecutive games to close his collegiate career, and LSU went 24-3 during that stretch. Not only did he accomplish that, but he also helped keep Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1-overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in this 2020 draft, quarterback Joe Burrow, upright. Now, he’ll protect Broncos’ QB Drew Lock with his bevy of weapons at WR.
Don’t get me wrong. All three of these new arrivals have weaknesses, but I’d rather not talk about them. I’m an optimist. Here’s to these young men having phenomenal rookie seasons in Denver.
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