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Fifteen players to watch at Broncos training camp - 8. Carlos Henderson

Posted Jul 19, 2017

After an explosive stint at Louisiana Tech, Henderson hopes to make his mark in a crowded WR corps.

A significant role could be there for Carlos Henderson to grab this summer.

The third-round pick's rock-solid frame, ability to rack up yardage after the catch and versatility to make plays on the inside and the outside make him a potential fit as a No. 3 wide receiver in Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy's offense.

"Carlos is a great route-runner," fellow wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said during OTAs. "He keeps his arms running through the cuts. I’ve been watching film on him and just seeing how he is. He is a technique guy."

The biggest obstacle could be the competition Henderson will face for the top spot behind Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, a group led by Bennie Fowler III, Jordan Taylor, Cody Latimer, Marlon Brown and fellow draft pick Isaiah McKenzie.

But Henderson showed signs that he could transfer his college efficiency to the next level. At Louisiana Tech, he averaged one touchdown every 5.25 receptions. During OTAs, he showed a flair for making big catches, including a deep touchdown reception that saw him split two defenders.

He'll need more plays like that and more consistency to separate himself from a talented pack.

"At this level, everybody can run and jump," Henderson said in May. "It’s the small things that you do that separates yourself from the rest of the greats.

"Once I continue to work on the small things and critique the errors and mistakes that I make, the rest will take care of itself."

Even if Henderson doesn't have a prominent role on offense right away, he could be an immediate contributor on special teams. He has a good shot of being the Broncos' kickoff returner, a role at which he excelled in college, averaging 26.5 yards per return with three touchdowns.

"Love that guy," said Special Teams Coordinator Brock Olivo during OTAs. "He’s got juice and he’s a linear speed guy, whereas Isaiah is sort of a shifty guy, a [change-of-direction] guy. Carlos is your downhill, run-behind-your-pads, run through smoke [returner].

"He’s got courage. That’s the type of kid we like as a kick returner. So, very, very excited about Carlos, as well. He runs angry with the ball in his hands, and we love that."

The reason why you should watch Henderson rests in the attributes mentioned by Sanders and Olivo:

"... technique guy ..."

"... got courage ...."

" ... runs angry ..."

Those are some outstanding raw tools. How Henderson utilizes them will determine his role in 2017 and beyond.

Carlos Henderson