With the 46th pick of the 2020 NFL draft, the Denver Broncos select… KJ Hamler? I was not the only one to be surprised at the Broncos selection in the 2nd round of the draft.
After going with another WR in round 1, Jerry Jeudy, not many were expecting the Broncos to pull the trigger on another WR prospect. With premium CB prospects still available in both Jaylon Johnson and Kristian Fulton, one of them seemed like the pick. Instead the Broncos doubled down on building around Drew Lock.
KJ Hamler is leaving for the NFL after his Junior year. In his two years as a WR at Penn State, Hamler racked up 98 catches, 1,745 yards, and 14 total TDs. Hamler is a small drink of water at 5’9” 176 pounds and he did not run at the combine due to a hamstring injury; which has since fully healed according to Hamler.
The main selling point for Hamler is his speed. He has truly elite speed and quickness, along with the agility that only a select few players have. So, why did he fall to the second round? Well, to go along with all those elite physical traits, he has a substantial problem with drops. His drop rate in 2019 was 16.9 percent. He is also a slot receiver, which is valued less than outside WRs by the NFL.
How does he fit with the Broncos?
Hamler offers an elite speed deep threat that the Broncos sorely lacked in 2019. Hamler averaged 16.9 yards per catch in his career at PSU. 19.6 percent of his catches were over 20 yards down the field, second to only Tee Higgins in this draft class. He will likely be the Broncos new slot receiver.
In his career, he caught 91 percent of his passes from the slot, second only in this class to Justin Jefferson. With the addition of Pat Schurmur as the new offensive coordinator, the Broncos will likely be running three WR sets around 70 percent of the time, much like his tenure in New York. He likely will not have any fantasy relevance in normal fantasy leagues unless injuries hit the top options in Denver. His ceiling is probably a boom or bust flex option in 16+ team leagues.