Denver Is Flying High With K.J. Hamler After Drafting Jerry Jeudy
With the 46th pick in the NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select KJ Hamler.
Hamler was the fourth wide receiver selected in the second round and 10th overall in the 2020 class. The Broncos drafted Jerry Jeudy with the No. 15 overall pick giving quarterback Drew Lock some weapons to contend in a quarterback and wide receiver loaded AFC West. Let's take a look at what the Penn State product has to offer fantasy football owners in his first season.
Hamler is an undersized talent in this class at 5-8 5/8 and 178 pounds. He's a spark-plug of an athlete leading the Nittany Lions in receptions and receiving yards for a second consecutive season to go along with a team-high eight touchdowns receptions. He's totaled at least 700 receiving yards and 600 total kick and punt return yards in both seasons at Penn State.
After redshirting as a freshman in 2017, Hamler scored 14 total touchdowns in 26 career games over two seasons. As a redshirt freshman in 2018, Hamler set Penn State's freshman all-purpose yardage record (1,417) earning honorable-mention as an All-Big Ten selection for both receiver and return specialist. He was named a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award for major college football’s Most Versatile Player in 2018, and All-Big Ten second team as a receiver and honorable mention as a returner in 2019 in addition to being named a Maxwell Award semifinalist.
In both seasons, Hamler finished top 10 in single-season receptions, receiving yards, punt return yards, kick return yards, and touchdowns in the Big Ten. He recorded a target share of 25% and a catch rate of 59.6% in 2019. He reportedly runs a 4.27, but has been consistently clocked at sub-4.3 in the 40-yard dash. In his two seasons, he surpassed 21 mph hitting 21.76 mph as a redshirt freshman in 2018 and 21.58 mph this past season.
Hamler didn't run at the combine because of a hamstring issue, nor did he have a pro day because of the coronavirus, but with his type of speed, he can contribute to his new squad like a Tavon Austin and Kenjon Barner have in the past. The only difference between him and them is he posted an impressive 15 reps on the bench press for being 178-pounds at the combine.
What to Expect
Hamler's size is obviously the most daunting issue for his fantasy relevance, but paired with Courtland Sutton and Jeudy, Hamler will likely be the No. 3 receiver in Denver's offense. His game will be stretching the field and opening the underneath routes for Jeudy and Sutton. Lock had a 28.6% deep-ball completion percentage last season, per PlayerProfiler, and Hamler can be a deep target in 2020.
Hamler earned a 71.0 receiving grade from Pro Football Focus and caught 11-of-21 deep targets for five touchdowns last season. His 11 receptions from the slot were the third-most in the country last season, and that's where he should line up on the majority of his snaps in Denver. The Broncos finished 28th in passing yards per game (194.7) in 2020, and they're certainly putting together a fun offense.
Our JJ Zachariason projects Hamler for 37 catches, 405 yards, and two touchdowns in 2020.