As the Denver Broncos prepare to kickstart a new offense led by Russell Wilson, players like Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton have received high projections heading into this season. But don’t sleep on Tim Patrick, who could be the most important contributor in 2022.
The Broncos’ offense has been ranked bottom-ten in points scored for four consecutive seasons, but in 2022, Patrick could help change that. Patrick was added to the Broncos practice squad in 2017 before being signed to a Reserve/Future contract in 2018.
In 2018, one of Patrick’s biggest moments for the Broncos came in a Week 2 home matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders. The Broncos needed to drive in the final two minutes to have a chance to win the game.
Case Keenum found the tall receiver for a massive 26-yard catch and run, breaking a tackle from a defender and getting out of bounds in the final seconds. That set up Brandon McManus for a game-winning 36-yard field goal to help Denver secure a 2-0 start.
That specific moment would be the start of Patrick becoming one of the Broncos’ most reliable receivers in clutch time. How does this apply to Patrick going into 2022?
Dating back to 2018, Patrick has consistently moved the chains for the offense. During the 2018 season, Patrick registered 23 receptions with 15 of those catches leading to a first down according to Pro Football Reference.
In 2019, Patrick had 16 catches with 14 of them moving the chains for a first down. The trend would continue during the 2020 season as he became the team’s premier target after Courtland Sutton suffered a season-ending ACL injury, hauling in 51 catches with 33 of them converting for a first down.
Entering 2021, Patrick would find himself playing with his sixth quarterback in Denver after Teddy Bridgewater was announced as the Broncos starter. Once again, Patrick was consistently reliable, bringing in 53 receptions with 39 of those leading to a first down.
Fast forward to today, new Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson has a multitude of receiving targets to throw to, but Patrick’s consistency will be valuable in Nathaniel Hackett’s offense.
As the Broncos look to involve Jeudy, Sutton, Albert Okwuegbunam, Greg Dulcich, and K.J. Hamler, Patrick’s overall volume may decrease, but his efficiency could very well remain high in this offense based on his consistency.
For defensive coordinators, it will be a challenge to develop a game plan that takes away all of the Broncos’ receiving options, which could lead to different players leading the team on a week-to-week basis in targets and yards.
With Patrick’s proven history of production and consistency, he could become the Broncos’ most important contributor on the offensive side of the ball in 2022 with Wilson throwing to him.