ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As Courtland Sutton works toward a return to the field in 2021, Head Coach Vic Fangio said he "can't imagine" Sutton doing better in his rehab from an ACL injury.
"He's doing really, really good," Fangio said Saturday after the 2021 NFL Draft. "I watch him, I see him work out every day. I talk to him every day in the training room and I can't imagine that he could be doing any better than he is at this stage in rehab. I see him running, I see him in the weight room. He's got an unbelievable attitude. It's been infectious to the other guys that are rehabbing."
Sutton suffered a torn ACL in mid-September in a Week 2 game in Pittsburgh. He appeared to sustain the injury while trying to make a tackle on an interception return by the Steelers.
Sutton topped the 1,000-yard receiving mark in 2019 as he earned his first Pro Bowl nod, and General Manager George Paton called him one of the team's "core guys" in April. Sutton has recorded 117 catches for 1,882 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career. His 1,882 receiving yards rank third in team history through a player's first 33 games, while his 10 touchdowns rank fifth in the same metric.
The fourth-year receiver has posted videos of himself running at UCHealth Training Center in recent weeks as he tries to return to his Pro Bowl form.
Sutton, though, is not the only player working back from an ACL injury. Second-year tight end Albert Okwuegbunam suffered a torn ACL in early November against the Falcons, while second-year cornerback Essang Bassey tore his in Kansas City in early December.
Fangio said Saturday that the two players will likely not be ready for the beginning of training camp.
"Probably not right off the bat full speed," Fangio said. "… But they're both doing really, really good. I don't expect them to be totally cut loose and free. They'll have to be managed, but they both are doing very well."
Okwuegbunam caught 11 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown as a rookie, and he also drew a pair of critical pass-interference penalties to help the Broncos complete a 21-point comeback against the Chargers.
Bassey, meanwhile, started three games and recorded one interception, a fumble recovery, three tackles for loss and two passes defensed after making the team as an undrafted free agent out of Wake Forest.
Denver could also see another member of last year's rookie class, linebacker Justin Strnad, return from injury. The 2020 fifth-round pick impressed early in training camp before suffering a season-ending wrist injury.