5 players who Denver Broncos need to be great in 2020

Denver Broncos, Drew Lock, #3 (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, Drew Lock, #3 (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images /

3. WR Courtland Sutton

After a promising rookie season in 2018, where he averaged 16.8 yards per catch, Sutton became Denver’s No. 1 wide receiver last year as he finished with 72 catches for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns. Emmanuel Sanders played seven games for the Broncos before being traded to the 49ers in 2019, but Sutton out-targeted him with more catches and substantially more yards over that span.

Sutton did not have dramatic splits in 2019, with or without sharing the same field with Sanders. His targets per game were close, and a drop in catch rate (66.7 percent over the first seven games, 50.7 percent over the last nine) can be chalked up partially to three starts from Brandon Allen before Drew Lock took over under center. Take out Week 15 against the Chiefs in the snow, when Lock went 18-for-40 (#goodgameplanning), and Sutton’s catch rate was 60 percent in Lock’s other four starts.

Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler were notably added to Denver’s wide receiver core in the draft. But it’s worth wondering how quickly they’ll hit the ground running, with no on-field work until possibly an abbreviated training camp.

Sutton has as the widest sample of work than anyone can have with Lock, so he’ll be at the top of the pecking order for targets this year. Another step, into the upper tier of wide receivers in the league, will naturally come in concert with his quarterback taking a big step in 2020.