The Denver Broncos offense and Russell Wilson have not found the success they have been hoping for this season, but a fan-favorite at receiver has emerged as a reliable outlet for the offense going forward.

Kendall Hinton reliable for Broncos offense and Russell Wilson

After mile-high expectations for the Broncos’ offense have failed to live up to the bill, Denver has to evaluate how they move forward at the skill player position. As the Broncos prepare to make a multitude of changes this off-season centered around how they can maximize their investment in Russell Wilson, Kendall Hinton is a player that should receive consideration for a role within the offense going forward.

The Broncos receive corp has struggled this season with availability due to injuries to key players like KJ Hamler, Jerry Jeudy, and Tim Patrick who was lost for the season with a non-contact ACL injury during training camp.

After Sunday’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders things became evident that Denver needs more production at wide receiver. Courtland Sutton received a bulk of offensive targets with seven against the Raiders and hauling in five catches for 80 yards. On the other side, Sutton leads the team in drops this season including two against the Raiders on Sunday.

Without Jeudy or Hamler in the lineup, Wilson has relied on Hinton the past two games who has hauled in seven catches on his last eight targets for 119 yards. Hinton also demonstrated flashes of emerging as a reliable target for Wilson in big moments earlier in the season including a 20-yard crucial reception in Week 2 against the Houston Texans, a fourth-quarter snag on a critical third down play against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3, and a big catch in Denver’s Week 4 loss against the Raiders on the road.

Hinton isn’t WR1, WR 2, or WR3, but he has carved out a role for himself as a true security blanket with a chip on his shoulder as an undrafted rookie free agent. He’s also become an immediate fan favorite in Broncos Country.

Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett touched on the impact Hinton has had for them offensively despite his limited role this year.

“I don’t think anybody could understand what he did in that Tennessee game and starting there,” Hackett said during his media availability on Tuesday. “To go as long as he had just working [at] one position and then on very first play the game, he’s got to jump to a completely different position. I think that’s just a testament to his intelligence, how he understands the system, knows where to line up and all the different spots we can put him. He has been dynamic out there. He’s been able to win on one-on-one routes, he’s got a lot of shiftiness to him, and when you throw that intelligence in there—obviously, because of his experience as a quarterback—he’s been really good for us. We’re so happy to have him and have to keep him going.”

Cody Roark is Mile High Sports lead reporter covering the Denver Broncos — Cody covers every practice, every home and away game plus community events related to the organization. He also co-hosts The Afternoon Drive with Aniello Piro on Mile High Sports Radio and is the host of the Locked On Broncos podcast. You can follow Cody on Twitter and Instagram @CodyRoarkNFL.