A rookie wide receiver is making a big impression during training camp for the Denver Broncos.
On August 10, Pro Football Focus listed one riser for each NFL team during training camp. For the Broncos, PFF’s Doug Kyed listed rookie wide receiver Montrell Washington.
“In need of depth at wide receiver after Tim Patrick’s torn ACL, Washington, a rookie fifth-round pick out of Samford, has stepped up in a big way for Denver, being on the receiving end of a ton of big plays in camp,” Kyed wrote.
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Broncos: Washington Has Been a Standout Throughout Training Camp
Washington has made a number of highlight plays throughout training camp.
On July 30, Russell Wilson connected with a wide-open Washington deep for a 60-yard touchdown.
On August 2, he made a touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone with one second left on the clock, then he celebrated by landing a perfect standing backflip.
Following Tim Patrick’s ACL injury, head coach Nathaniel Hackett said Washington is “going to have to step up”.
“He has worked so hard,” Hackett said per team reporter Aric DiLalla. “I don’t think anybody really knew where he was going to put himself within the wide receiver rotation. He is a guy that Russell [Wilson] has latched on to and really tried to push with the rookies being around here. [The goal is for him to] just try to grow because it is so different, coming from where he’s been. He’s grasping a lot and he’s made a bunch of good plays around here. He had a great play at the end there. We’re excited. He’s going to have to step up.”
So far, Washington has been capitalizing on his opportunities. KOA Colorado’s Benjamin Allbright called Washington “the star” of the Broncos’ joint practice with the Dallas Cowboys.
Washington Is Expected to Be the Broncos’ Return Man
The Broncos released their first unofficial depth chart, and unsurprisingly, Washington was listed as the team’s top kick returner and punt returner.
When the Broncos selected Washington in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL draft, he was expected to serve as the team’s return specialist. In college, he averaged 16.4 yards per punt return, and he had four punt return touchdowns. He also averaged 22.4 yards per kick return, and he scored one kick return touchdown.
Last season, the Broncos were last in the entire NFL in average yards per kick return (16.2). Washington should give a much-needed boost to the Broncos’ special teams unit.
General manager George Paton spoke about Washington’s ability as a returner.
“We feel like he can be a duel returner for us, he’s explosive,” Paton said via ESPN’s Jeff Legwold. “He’s explosive. He is. It was a major emphasis. I applaud [Broncos special teams coordinator] Dwayne Stukes for the work he and [assistant special teams coach] Mike Mallory put into it, their evaluations.”
Washington will be a player to monitor throughout the preseason.