When you mention Denver Broncos wide receiver Kendall Hinton to any fan of the team, they flash a smile. Perhaps it’s because he selflessly took on a bigger role against Sean Payton’s New Orleans Saints in 2020 when Denver had no quarterbacks available, or he’s emerged into a reliably consistent role player.

How Kendall Hinton emerged into a reliable option for the Denver Broncos

As the Denver Broncos prepare for their first NFL Preseason game this week against the Arizona Cardinals, many players anxiously await the chance to showcase their value to the team this upcoming season.

Wide receiver Kendall Hinton is embracing change within the Broncos offense for the third consecutive season, but his confidence hasn’t wavered. His journey as a previously undrafted free agent didn’t begin with the Saints game in 2020 but dates back to his college days at Wake Forest.

Initially, he played quarterback at Wake Forest but transitioned to wide receiver and gave opposing defenses fits.

In 2020, I interviewed previous Wake Forest defensive coordinator Lyle Hemphill, who shared his thoughts on Hinton based on his experience coaching and game-planning against him during practice.

“He’s really good,” Hemphill said of Hinton. “He played quarterback for us at Wake Forest through his first four years. Before his senior year, he was a quarterback, and he was a really good quarterback. Then they moved him to the slot, and the one thing I’d say is that he’s extremely strong for a slot; he’s got outside receiver’s body strength. Every game he played, he got better. It’s crazy to say that for a kid that graduated college, but he has huge upside, and he’s only going to get better as he continues to play the position. We saw it on a week-to-week basis, and if you just look at his stats, that’s his first year playing receiver, and he was dominant in the ACC.”

He caught 71 passes for 1,001 yards and four touchdowns in his first season as a receiver at Wake Forest.

Fast forward four years later, Hinton has emerged as a reliable player for the team regardless of who the head coach has been.

In just two seasons at wide receiver as a member of the Denver Broncos, he’s hauled in 39 catches for 486 yards and one touchdown despite starting in only six career games and appearing in 29. Last season he had 24 total receptions, with 14 of them moving the chains for a first down.

Hinton has chance to step into bigger role after Tim Patrick’s injury

The loss of Tim Patrick is a big blow for the Denver Broncos and you can’t replace his production, but you can supplement it with other players contributions.

Hinton is in a prime position to do just that despite experiencing his third offensive scheme change in three seasons.

“This staff has been very detailed in the way they install the offense,” Hinton said to MHS in an exclusive one-on-one. “I think that’s a big thing, the details are huge this year and that’s definitely priority number one.”

When watching the tape, Hinton is a finesse player who excels in his route running, run blocking and finding space to get open.

For Hinton, he’s constantly identifying ways that he can get better as he prepares for his fourth season in the NFL. His position demands him to be able to play in the slot, in motion, or on the outside against tall and physical cornerbacks, requiring him to match what’s being thrown at him.

“For me it’s trying to get even stronger,” Hinton said regarding the biggest changes he’s made since coming into the league. “More physical, more violent with my hands, and progressing that way.”

Hinton doesn’t want to be one-dimensional at the position and has continued to elevate himself throughout Broncos training camp. Part of what has helped him evolve has been practicing against players like Patrick Surtain, Justin Simmons, Caden Sterns, Damarri Mathis, and others in the Broncos’ loaded secondary.

“We’ve got some really high caliber corners and defensive backs,” Hinton said. “Every day at practice, you know, coming out here to get better, and you’re getting competitive reps in every play. I think it’s great, and everybody gets better because of it.”

Returning to Patrick’s injury, it has created a bigger need for more players to step up. Hinton, Brandon Johnson, Marquez Callaway, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and others have been steady in practice and in the mix.

Hinton finds himself in a strong position once again as the preseason approaches to solidify himself as one of the team’s most reliable role players on offense.