John Elway checked off another position of need with the 40th pick of the draft, in Wide Receiver Courtland Sutton from Southern Methodist University.
At the converted DB is fairly new to WR, or as Elway says, “raw”, he’s got ball hawking skills and the size to be an outside receiver. He needs to hone his route running and do better at shedding coverage at the line, but the talent there just needs some refining. Great pick.
— American Football (@American_FB) April 27, 2018
“Outside of my work ethic, I am a guy who is going to come to the field and demand respect wherever I am on the field, whether it is in the slot, whether it is on the outside, on the right or the left. Wherever I am at on the field, if it is a pass play or run play, defenses have to know where I am at because they know that I am going to do my job. I am going to do it above and beyond with what is inside of me. That is the thing that I think I bring to the table. I am going to make plays and I am going to continue to make plays. I am not going to be a guy who sputters and makes plays every now and then and disappears during game time. I am a guy that every time I am on the field, I demand that respect. Needing to know where I am at and needing to know what is going on every play. I think that is a huge trait that I bring to the table outside of just being a big 6-4, 220-guy. I have been that presence on the field.”
He knows he has some things to improve on, but the quality is there. “I think one big thing that I can improve on is just learning the position of wide receiver. Anyone who has followed me and followed my career understands that I was a safety coming in to college. I got changed over to receiver by June Jones. I am very new to the position. I am learning as I go. I am taking a little bit of knowledge from everybody that I get a chance to take knowledge from. That is a lot of guys who played the position at a very, very high level. There are guys that I really trust and guys that I watched dominate the game at a high level. I trust that the things that they did at that level are the things I need to do to get to that level.”
For those who believe only players who visit are considered picks, none of the four traveled to Denver. Three said they didn’t even know, “I was on the Broncos radar. I had no idea that I would be a Bronco. I knew that me being a part of that organization would be huge if I would be able to make that move. I finished stressing about what was going to happen. I knew that whatever team decided to take me, I was going to come in and work my butt off. I was going to learn from the best guys who are killing the game right now. I was going to learn from them and figure out what I need to do to be able to accomplish a dominant all-pro receiver in this league and hopefully help my team get to a Super Bowl and win a Super Bowl.”
When players are ranked high and there’s no character issues or flags, teams often don’t need more than the combine time. He had 3,220 yards on 195 attempts. 31 TDs. Both Elway and Vance Jospeh said he can play anywhere, but the potential to be #1 is there, three for now. However, they were clear about them wanting him as the 1 and soon. Not good news for Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas.
He was glad for the switch from defense to offense, “Honestly, I was really excited to be able to make that transition from playing safety to playing receiver. I loved playing safety, but I feel like in my heart I was a true receiver. Coming into SMU, I was told that I was going to be able to have the opportunity to play on either side of the ball. They played me at safety but Coach Jones saw that I had the ball skills and they needed some grit on that other side of the ball, so they moved me over and I was really excited. It’s something that I was really looking forward to, to learn the position. He put Cole Beasley in the league, so he’s proven that if I bought into what he put out there, that I could be a great receiver. I knew I was going to be able to dominate at the position if I bought into what they were trying to get me to do. I think those are the things that got me to the point I’m at right now, being a top-tier wide receiver and also learning and understanding how to grow at my position.”
Elway said he has tremendous upside which, “gives me hope that the things that I’m doing to become an elite player at this position are being recognized and noted. When you’re a guy who’s trying to be great at what you do, you want people who have already been proven true at the thing that you do, to be able to say, ‘Look, you’re a guy who has a huge chance to be great.’ When somebody that’s proven says that, and it’s a guy who’s respected in our business, that’s something that we all look for. To have Coach Elway say that about me, that’s a huge honor.”
Sutton thinks he is a person with a fired up demeanor. He’s excited to learn from Thomas and Sanders.
“I’m trying to come in and help this organization get back to the Super Bowl and win it. I’m really excited to be a part of this organization and be a part of something that’s greater than myself. To just be able to have this opportunity, I’m blessed. I’m very thankful for the Broncos organization giving me this opportunity to come in and prove myself and to help the organization get to where we want to get to.”