Strong Reaction to Broncos' KJ Hamler Pick Pours in

Chad Jensen

Anyone paying attention to the Denver Broncos over the last three months was at least clued in to the possibility of GM John Elway double-dipping at the wide receiver position in the NFL Draft. After all, the worst-kept secret all offseason has been the Broncos' pursuit of WR talent to upgrade the position and build the nest around second-year QB Drew Lock. 

But despite several tempting options being on the board, when the Broncos' No. 46 overall pick rolled around in the second round, Elway pulled the trigger on another wideout, taking Penn State speedster KJ Hamler. 

Hamler is 5-foot-9 and 178 pounds and runs an unofficial 4.27 40-yard dash. The value he brings to the slot position could really help Lock take that quantum leap forward in year two. 

So far, the 2020 draft haul has seen Elway prioritize not only the offense, but a WR position that has been lackluster since the Broncos traded away Emmanuel Sanders mid-season. Courtland Sutton produced a Pro Bowl campaign in the wake of Sanders' departure, and did so catching passes from three different starting QBs, but late in the year, opposing defensive coordinators really schemed to take Sutton away. 

The Broncos were able to mostly roll with those punches, thanks to Lock being inserted as starter from Week 13 on. But if Lock, and by extension, the Broncos are going to continue to build on the momentum Lock's 4-1 finish provided, and compete with the offensive juggernaut that is the Kansas City Chiefs, that nest had to get built. 

Meanwhile, Elway's aggressiveness in focusing exclusively thus far on WR garnered some interesting reactions around the web. Here are the highlights. 

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Comments (13)
No. 1-9
jimtaylor
jimtaylor

I'm not a fan of either of these picks. Ojemudia just reminds me of all of Elways recent draft picks at CB.

Wyomingite
Wyomingite

Obviously we want Ruggs (and Jeudy). Well we may have gotten both, or at least a version of both.

EchoChamber
EchoChamber

So what TE is Hamler covering and what DE or OLB is he blocking? GTFOH. He does remind me of Percy Harvin yet I'm thinking bigger priorities were bypassed. Predictable so many have a hard on for this pick yet I think in retrospect it will be panned. No fan of D. Hamilton and I wanted two receivers in the draft but not Hamler and not at the expense of a competent OT, a LB who can cover, more CBs (the Iowa pick, unimpressed) and a safety.

dremsmith1
dremsmith1

Hamler isn't there to outplay any TEs or defensive players. He's a WR. One of the fastest in the league with tremendous YAC and return skills. If you're talking about Ojemudia, Fangio brought in the CB with the intent of using him in the Fangio system which requires unusual intelligence, tackling skills, and speed, all of which Ojemudia possesses.

DadRunAmok
DadRunAmok

Yep. Gotta score points in this league. Sutton, JJ, Lindsey, Gordon, Hamler, Fant. Nightmare for opposing DCs. And they will be better up front with Glasgow and a (hopefully) healthy Jawaun James. I think the days of "17 points and hope we can hold on" are over for Broncos Country.
On the other side of the ball, Callahan and Chubb will both be back, and the additions of two pro bowlers via cheap trades to a decent defense will make a huge difference. Yep, still haven't identified an answer for guys like Kelce and Gronk (can't believe the Broncs have to face him and Brady again this season) but last year's strong defense should be better as well.

Jimrichard
Jimrichard

I was actually shocked to see them take two WR's in a row period when they had so many other needs. Would have preferred a CB or DB with the 2nd and look for WR later. Hamler is awfully small. The guy could bring something but it really feels like a reach and not a good pick for the 2nd rnd. Hopefully he is better than Spencer as he has done next to nothing at WR for the Broncos. Overall shows how much they really wanted Ruggs !

Orangeforbreakfast
Orangeforbreakfast

Don't have a huge issue with Hamler, just with where he was taken. Probably could have easily gotten him with one of the third round picks.

Going into the season betting on James & Bolles to keep Lock alive and upright (let alone play at all or not be the holding champ) is like betting on the South to win the Civil War.

Too many other holes to take a returner/gimmick player so high, especially in a league that's trying hard to eliminate kick returns.

Watermoon
Watermoon

I remember when Terry Bradshaw was drafted by the Steelers when they had won the coin flip for first choice tied with the Bears with worse record. He had come from La. Tech and many reported that he was too stupid to make it as a quarterback in the NFL Back then they had to call their own plays and he had a terrible first season. Then the Steelers drafted Lynn Swan and John Stallworth. Suddenly Terry got much smarter. And the rest is history both personally and for the Steeler team.

Pmanningsir1
Pmanningsir1

Picking a diminutive WR early in rd2 solidifies what ive said for months; they need speed and firepower to produce points, the raiders get it and so does Elway. The defense will be better because broncs will score more and allow D to do what it does best; rush the passer. Its plainly obvious that if Juedy and Ruggs were there at 15 HR3 would've been the pick all day and they could've got a route runner in other rounds in this deep class. Hamler was option 2 in overall intent (speed & firepower). KC was an offside away from being in SB 2 yrs in row and woulda beat the rams had they went that year. Chiefs forced all teams especially AFC west to possess pure firepower to keep up. Being down 20+ pts late in games and winning by 15+ will do that. Bottom line is: JE did what he had to and Fangio (a D coach) understood that completely. Firing Scangarello asap and hiring a Reid disciple is further proof. On paper and If all goes well broncs/chiefs games will be watched by all. Raiders will be dangerous too. PS: JE had to say publicly that Juedy was first on board to be politically correct and not to bruise a rookie ego.