Saturday, May 10, 2014
Latimer dressed for Broncos' success
By Jeff Legwold
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Apparently fate fits in a garment bag.
But when Cody Latimer packed his luggage for his trip to New York as one of the NFL draft prospects invited to Radio City Music Hall, he included an orange shirt and a pair of orange shoes -- all by chance.
Something, he said, that was "from one of my proms I went to in high school … It just happened to work out perfectly."
Or as John Elway put it; "He was meant to be a Bronco."
Latimer was formally introduced, in his in-the-moment orange attire, by the Broncos Saturday morning as quarterback Peyton Manning’s newest target. At 6-foot-2 1/2-inches tall, 215 pounds, the Broncos simply liked the size, speed (4.4 in the 40-yard dash) and physicality Latimer offered.
It’s why they believe Latimer will wiggle himself into the rotation at wide receiver, much like he wiggled free from coverage plans designed to stop him as the primary target in Indiana's offense.
"I’m here to get on the field, but there’s not much of a rush," Latimer said.
"We plan on him doing great things for us," Elway said.
What Latimer does better than most young players at his position are exactly the things that should enable him to earn some playing time in an offense that set a record with 606 points last season. Latimer blocks in the run game -- something wide receiver coaches love -- and in situations where the pass is contested, the "so-called 50-50 ball," Latimer usually wins.
Elway called him the best blocking receiver in the draft "by far," and put that in a player with 4.4 speed who consistently wins one-on-one matchups in the scoring zone -- and that’s why the Broncos traded three picks to move up seven spots to get him.
The Broncos’ top three will be Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Emmanuel Sanders, but Latimer will earn some snaps when things get down to business in training camp. And he gives the Broncos the opportunity to create yet another size mis-match in the scoring zone, something Eric Decker did enough for 24 touchdown catches in the last two seasons combined.