Brad Menendez | Dec 15, 2018 | 0
Courtland Sutton: The Next Denver Great?
With Demaryius Thomas getting traded to the Houston Texans, all attention has been on the intriguing rookie Courtland Sutton. He has been pegged as the Thomas replacement since being drafted and was assumed to take that role next season when most figured Thomas would not return to the Broncos. Well, it seems that timeline has been expedited. Does this rookie out of SMU have what it takes to fill the shoes of one of the best Wide Receivers to wear the Broncos logo?
Sutton attended SMU. Coming out of High School he was originally recruited as a safety and tight end. His coach noticed his skill set and decided to work him as a wide receiver. His freshman year was cut short due to injury and he was able to be redshirted. His next 3 years he started all 37 games producing 31 touchdowns and 3,193 yards on 193 receptions. He contemplated on entering the draft in 2017 but chose to return for his redshirt junior season. Before he announced that he was forgoing the draft and returning to SMU for another season, he was talked about as one of, if not the top wide receiver prospect. After averaging nearly 1 touchdown per game in 3 seasons, he decided to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.
Sutton was drafted with the 8th pick in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos. He was the 3rd WR off the board with DJ Moore and Calvin Ridley taken before him. He was strongly in the discussion for the first wide receiver to be taken in the draft and was seen by many as the first wide receiver to be drafted in dynasty rookie drafts. His value seemed to take a hit when landing in Denver however, and he began to slide down everyone’s rookie rankings due to the situation. This is good for those who don’t get distracted by landing spots. I have seen many rookie drafts where Michael Gallup was taken before Sutton because there was no clear-cut option ahead of him, even though he was selected a full round later and had 8 wide receivers drafted before him.
Sutton has shown his big play making ability all season so far in limited action. He is averaging 19.1 yards per reception on 20 catches, which is ranked 4th in the NFL this season. His longest catch is only 42 yards so it’s not a skewed average from a 90-yard catch. Demaryius was a big piece of this offense. His 36 receptions, 401 yards, and 3 touchdowns were roughly 20% of the Broncos pass offense. Sutton’s usage will without a doubt increase.
A big argument against the ceiling of Sutton is the man throwing him the ball. Case Keenum is perceived as a below average quarterback. This may be true in a real football sense, but when it comes to fantasy football he is more than adequate to provide the wide receiver value. Adam Thielen and Stephon Diggs ranked as the #9 and #20 wide receivers last year in PPR respectfully. Currently, through Week 9, Keenum ranks in the top 10 in completions and yards. Keenum is not thought of as the long-term solution in Denver, which can be either good or bad depending on the route Elway and company go to solidify that position.
Sutton’s first week was underwhelming for most who expected a huge output. He was held to just 3 catches and 57 yards. His day would have been much bigger if Shareece Wright didn’t knock a deep touchdown out of his hands on a great play. I think the future of Courtland Sutton is very bright and he has fringe WR1 potential. He is great at the jump ball, and if he can polish his routes as he grows in this league then he will be a force for sure. I would try and buy as many shares as you can from owners that may have felt let down with his first start of the season. Sutton will be a great target for teams that may not have the chance to win this season but have something to sell to a team making a push.