While most of the offseason speculation about the Broncos acquiring
a quarterback revolved around Aaron Rodgers, Denver finally found
a partner in the Seattle Seahawks, dealing three players and five
draft picks for nine-time Pro Bowl selection Russell Wilson. Although
Wilson is coming off a down year, which included missing games
due to injury for the first time in his career, heís light
years ahead of what has been seen in Mile High since the retirement
of Peyton Manning following the 2015 season.
How new head coach Nathaniel Hackett chooses to feature Wilson
will be interesting, as for all his talent the veteran quarterback
was often utilized as a glorified game manager during his Seattle
run where Pete Carroll has long prioritized defense and controlling
the clock with the run. The lone exception to this was the short-lived
ďLet Russ cookĒ phase, which came to an end when Wilson
threw seven INTs over a four-game stretch in 2020 where the Seahawks
Hackett, who spent the last three years working with Rodgers
as Green Bayís offensive coordinator, is likely to be more aggressive
than Carroll was, but the Packers have quietly developed a solid
running game so expect a fairly balanced approach. Plus, for as
much potential as the Broncos have at their skill positions, thereís
no singular talent on par with DK Metcalf or anyone as proven
as Tyler Lockett.
Entering his age-34 season, Wilson is a fringe top-10 fantasy
quarterback with the potential to slide up into the top five and
possibly down into QB2 range, depending on how much heís asked
to do both as a runner and passer in an offense thatís high on
upside but light on proven commodities.
A year ago, the backfield tandem of Williams and Gordon logged
a perfect 50/50 split on the ground with each player running the
ball 203 times. The veteran was nominally more effective, outgaining
the then-rookie 918 to 903, though Williams posted a superior
receiving line (43-316-3) to finish ahead of Gordon in total yards.
Expect things to start skewing in favor of Williams in 2022 as
the second-year pro has far less mileage and proved very difficult
to bring down last year.
Once again, we return to Hackettís experience in Green
Bay where head coach Matt LaFleur used a two-pronged attack with
Aaron Jones in the lead role and Jamaal Williams/AJ Dillon as
the complementary back. To that end, over the last three seasons
Jones tallied 756 touches versus 517 for the combo of Williams
(2019-20) and Dillon (2021) -- that gives Jones a roughly 60/40
split, though bear in mind that Jones missed four games during
that stretch, so 65/35 is probably more accurate.
Look for Williams to get the Jones share of the touches in 2022
with Gordon, who was re-signed to just a one-year, $2.5 million
deal in the offseason, filling that secondary slot. Itís
probably a little aggressive to project Williams as an RB1, but
that could be his ceiling. For now, heís a solid RB2.
Given where he was drafted (15th overall in 2015), Gordonís
NFL career must at least be considered a mild disappointment.
Granted, heís heading into his eighth year in the league,
and heís accounted for more than 8,000 total yards in that
time, but he managed just one 1,000-yard rushing campaign and
has shown a penchant for fumbling issues cropping up at the most
inopportune times. As noted, the veteran returned on a one-year
deal for what will likely be a reduced role, so it doesnít
appear that he had a lot of suitors on the open market.
Even at age 29, however, Gordon still has breakaway speed, and
as such heís a threat to take it to the house any time he
gets the ball in space. He has good hands as well, making him
a three-down option for Hackett to utilize. After serving in a
1a/1b capacity with Williams in 2021, Gordon is likely to function
as more of a true No. 2 back in 2022. As such, heís a low-end
RB3 or flex target.
Jeudy hasnít exactly been a bust since the Broncos made
him the 15th overall pick in 2020, but the fact that he was selected
ahead of players such as Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, and Tee
Higgins (among others) doesnít cast his first two seasons
in the NFL in a favorable light. In fairness, his sophomore campaign
got off to a tough start when he suffered a high ankle sprain
in Week 1 that would keep him out until Halloween. He was decent
upon returning but wound up averaging a modest 3.8 receptions
for 46.7 yards last year while failing to score a touchdown.
Of course, the elephant in the room is the quarterback play.
How big of a part did catching balls from the likes of Drew Lock,
Teddy Bridgewater, and Brett Rypien have in the underwhelming
start to Jeudyís career? Well, weíre about to find
out, because Wilson is a legit NFL quarterback who produced across
multiple incarnations of wide receiver rooms in Seattle. Heís
long been considered one of the best deep ball throwers in the
league, and the move to the thin air in Denver should only accentuate
Jeudy entered the NFL regarded as a polished route runner, and
he has the speed to get deep, which is a facet of his game that
has rarely been seen since leaving Alabama. Expect a far more
productive Jeudy in 2022, making him a solid WR3 with top-15 upside
-- of note, this projection anticipates Jeudy wonít face
NFL discipline for a May arrest after the charges were summarily
How good is Courtland Sutton? Thatís a tough question to
answer. Following the 2019 season when he posted a 72-1,112-6
line, it seemed like he was poised to emerge as a legit No. 1
receiver. Then he tore his ACL and MCL in the season opener in
2020. While he returned to lead the team in receiving yards last
year (776), he didnít look the same. Plus, perhaps of more
concern, he didnít function well alongside Jeudy when both
Consider this: in the seven games that Jeudy missed, Sutton logged
40 receptions, 585 yards, and 2 TDs, and in the 10 games they
played together, Sutton had 18 catches, 191 yards, and 0 TDs.
Thatís miserable production. Again, you can circle back
to shaky quarterback play and hope Wilsonís arrival is a
panacea for whatever ailed Sutton last season. Thereís no
question the veteran QB can spread the ball around to two talented
wideouts, having done so with Metcalf and Lockett in recent years.
Thatís enough to project Sutton, now two years removed from
his knee injury, as a low-end WR3.
On a team with a first-round pick and two second-round picks
on the WR depth chart, the undrafted Patrick is a nice story of
perseverance. After opening his career with two unremarkable campaigns,
the Utah alum has caught 104 passes for 1,476 yards and 11 TDs
over the last two years combined. The Broncos handed him a three-year,
$30-plus million extension with almost $20 million in guarantees
last November, so heís clearly viewed internally as a part
of their future.
Despite that, as well as his consistency relative to the two
receivers listed above, Patrick feels like a bit of a third wheel.
The fallback option if Jeudy doesnít improve and/or Sutton
canít recapture his pre-injury form. You could make a case
for targeting Patrick late in drafts as roster depth with some
juice, but thatís about it.
With Noah Fant included in the trade package for Wilson, Okwuegbunam
is expected to function as the No. 1 tight end in 2022, though
the selection of Greg Dulich in the third round at least serves
to muddy the waters a bit. Physically, there’s a lot to
like about Okwuegbunam, who has an ideal combination of size and
speed for the position. The numbers haven’t been there,
going back to his time at Mizzou, but he made strides last year,
finishing with a 33-330-2 line. When you consider that Fant had
68 catches to replace, it’s easy to see why Okwuegbunam
could have some sleeper potential. If you play in a league large
enough to carry two tight ends, Okwuegbunam makes a lot of sense
as a backup.