Broncos WR Returns to Practice After ACL Injury: Report

Broncos

Getty Denver Broncos WR KJ Hamler participates in a drill.

The Denver Broncos are activating wide receiver K.J. Hamler off the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, according to Mike Klis of 9news.

According to the team’s official site, Hamler passed his physical, and he is cleared to practice.

This is fantastic news for the Broncos. On September 28, Hamler suffered an ACL tear against the New York Jets. Despite the extent of the injury, Hamler has bounced back fast.

Back in April, head coach Nathaniel Hackett called Hamler’s recovery “unbelievable”.

“It’s unbelievable,” Hackett said per team reporter Ben Swanson. “There was one time … he ran an out route over there. I just kind of nodded my head saying, ‘Wow.’ That’s just great to see. All the guys — everybody’s working so hard. They all want to be out on the field. You appreciate that as a coach. They all want to contribute to the team.”

During OTAs and minicamp, Hamler participated in some individual drills, but he did not participate in 11-on-11 work.

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Broncos: Hamler Has Elite Speed

Hamler will add some speed on the outside. He was unable to run at the 2020 NFL combine due to a hamstring injury, but he claimed that he ran a blazing 4.27-second 40-yard dash.

While training at EXOS, Hamler ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash.

In three games last season, Hamler had five receptions for 74 yards.

In 2020, he appeared in 13 games totaling 30 receptions for 381 yards and three touchdowns.


Broncos: Hamler Envisions Playing a Similar Role to Tyler Lockett

In his short time with the Broncos, Hamler has flashed potential as a deep threat. His best game came against the Carolina Panthers in Week 14 in 2020. Coincedentally, Drew Lock also had, perhaps, his best game in a Broncos’ uniform, as Lock threw for 280 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions.

On this play, Lock hit a wide-open Hamler downfield for a 49-yard touchdown:

Hamler reached a top speed of 20.48 miles per hour on that route, which was tied for the 14th-fastest ball carrier time of the week.

Looking back at that game, we can see Hamler’s upside as a deep threat with good quarterback play. Hamler was able to use his speed to beat defenders downfield, and Lock was able to capitalize.

NFL Next Gen Stats

With Russell Wilson at quarterback, Hamler’s upside is immense.

In Seattle, Tyler Lockett was a deep threat for Wilson. Lockett averaged 16.1 yards per reception last season.

Hamler envisions himself playing a similar role alongside Wilson. In fact, Hamler has even talked to Lockett, according to The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider.

“I’m a big fan of Tyler’s game and me and him have talked a lot,” Hamler said. “I’ve just been picking his brain, like, ‘How does Russ handle these situations?’ It’s being a sponge, absorbing knowledge from two Pro Bowl guys. I put on Tyler’s film and I’m like, ‘OK, he did this and he did that.’ And then it’s, ‘OK, I can do all this.’ I’ve just got to go out there and play and get back on the field.'”

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