Denver Broncos

Emmanuel Sanders touts Courtland Sutton as Rookie of the Year candidate

Courtland Sutton is technically the Broncos’ No. 3 wide receiver, but he is being touted as an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate by a teammate.

Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders were one of the most productive wide receivers duos in the league, and while they’re still good, the Denver Broncos’ drop in quarterback play has hurt them. Some depth was added behind Thomas and Sanders via the draft in April, including second-round pick Courtland Sutton.

The Broncos also have a new quarterback in Case Keenum, so there’s hope for a more productive offense this year. But they’ve had a notable void outside of Thomas and Sanders at wide receiver, and Sutton seemed to quickly establish himself as that No. 3 receiver during camp and the preseason.

Thomas and Sanders are the target hogs in the Denver passing game, with Sutton only in line for a big role if an injury occurs to one of them. But Sanders, for one, has high expectations for his rookie teammate.

As part of an interview with Nick Shook of NFL.com, Sanders had the following to say about Sutton.

[Courtland Sutton] is a dog. He’s a dog. He’s an animal. Chris Harris Jr. calls him “Mini Megatron.” He’s big, man. He’s big. He can go up and get the ball, he has good routes, he’s smart. I feel like if we do what we’re supposed to, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t have 10-plus touchdowns.

Sutton (6-foot-4, 216 pounds) is a big receiver, and he averaged 16.5 yards per catch and had 31 touchdowns during his career at SMU. That includes back-to-back double-digit touchdown campaigns in 2016 and 2017, albeit against AAC competition. But some sort of immediate role as a red zone threat for the Broncos is possible, if not likely.

Next: The No. 1 reason each NFL team can be excited for 2018 season

Enough overall production to yield double-digit touchdowns would automatically put Sutton in the conversation for Offensive Rookie of the Year. It’s unlikely, but never say never, and Sanders is driving the bandwagon.

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