ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Tavarres King already had a connection to the Broncos. Unfortunately, it's not the kind that he wanted to remember.
His first season at Georgia ended after four games when Knowshon Moreno, then the Bulldogs' bellwether running back, rolled up on his ankle after being tackled. But King took the redshirt year and made the most of it; he grew into a team leader, started 39 games over the last four seasons and gradually increased his production, from 377 yards and a touchdown on 18 catches in 2009 to 950 yards on 42 catches and nine touchdowns as a senior.
The career per-catch average of 19.1 and senior-year rate of 22.6 yards per reception catch your eye first. King has run the 40-yard dash in as little as 4.36 seconds, although his 4.47 time at the Combine was a disappointment -- and a surprise, considering the separation and downfield burst evident on film.
King carries 189 pounds on his 6-foot frame, and can be expected to add a few pounds in the coming months. As a downfield threat, he fits better as a backup to Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. His current size seems more suited to the slot, but his vertical speed makes him a better fit outside.
King appears to be a decent bet to make the 53-man roster. Denver's starting trio at wide receiver is arguably the league's best. But Andre Caldwell and Trindon Holliday are the only experienced backups, and Holliday is a returner who might get an occasional change-of-pace look on offense but is too small -- and too prone to fumbles -- to handle a more extensive role on offense than the odd snap here and there. King, Caldwell, practice-squad wideout Greg Orton and Gerell Robinson, who spent last year on Arizona's practice squad, could have a spirited battle for two roster spots.
With Decker's contract expiring after 2013 and Wes Welker on a two-year deal, the Broncos need to begin cultivating young receivers to create depth and a backup plan in case they can't keep Thomas and Decker together. King can be a major part of that plan if he develops.