Kendall Hinton first caught the eye of the national media as an emergency quarterback (read: sacrificial lamb) for the Denver Broncos in a 31-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 12 last season.
Now, Hinton is turning heads for his play at his given position, landing on ESPN.com’s list of surprise players to watch coming out of NFL minicamps.
“There is no question Hinton, a former Wake Forest quarterback/wide receiver, still faces enormous odds in a crowded depth chart at receiver, but he has shown plenty of improvement this spring,” writes ESPN Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold.
Hinton indeed has a tough road to make the Broncos 53-man roster by the end of training camp, as Denver has been touted by sites like Pro Football Focus as having an elite receiving corps.
But the passer-turned-receiver has impressed not only his head coach Vic Fangio but one of his quarterbacks, Drew Lock, through this point of the offseason.
“The guy that has had a really good camp from the start of OTAs until now has been Kendall,” Fangio said after Day 1 of mandatory minicamp last week. “He’s really looked good as a receiver, and he’s improved a lot. He’s in the hunt for one of those spots.”
Said Lock: “He’s super-aggressive to the ball. You feel like you can throw him a ball one-on-one and he’s going to go get it.”
Hinton’s NFL journey has been a compelling on thus far through his short career. Originally a quarterback at Wake Forest before transitioning to wide receiver, Hinton signed with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent in April 2020. He was cut in September of last year before rejoining the Denver practice squad in early November.
Then, with all four Broncos quarterbacks were ruled ineligible to play against the Saints due to COVID-19 protocols, Hinton stepped up, completing one pass to tight end Noah Fant for 13 yards.
“… From receiver, to kind of on the team, to quarterback, to receiver, I mean, he’s definitely shown that he is here to work, and he really cares about the game of football,” Lock said.
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