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Mile High Morning: Could Tim Patrick be on the cusp of a Pro Bowl season?

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The Lead

After a season without a single Pro Bowl selection — the first time since 1980 that the Broncos completely missed the annual all-star game — the Broncos seem due to make a return in 2022.

Denver has several former Pro Bowlers on its roster already — Russell Wilson, Courtland Sutton, Melvin Gordon III, Bradley Chubb and Justin Simmons — but it's also quite possible we'll see at least one player earn his first selection.

With Wilson's addition, that could very well be a receiver, which is why NFL.com's Nick Shook selected veteran Tim Patrick as a potential first-time Pro Bowler for the Broncos.

"[T]he Broncos are loaded with offensive talent, and no Denver pass-catcher has been more dependable in the last couple of years than Patrick," Shook wrote. "The team rewarded him with a three-year, $34.5 million extension late in the 2021 season, but the reason I feel confident in this pick is because of how Patrick has performed despite Denver's revolving door at quarterback. Patrick ran routes for the likes of Drew Lock, Teddy Bridgewater, Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel, yet he's remained consistent no matter the passer. That door has stopped spinning with the arrival of Russell Wilson, and I expect an even better result from Patrick -- potentially good enough to get him Pro Bowl recognition."

Since making his NFL debut in 2018, Patrick has quietly been one of the Broncos' top options with 236 targets and 143 receptions (each of which rank third on the team in that time frame), 2,009 receiving yards (second) and 12 touchdowns (tied for first). Over just the last two seasons, Patrick led the Broncos in receiving yards and touchdowns.

In 2022, could Patrick continue that run of success? It's hard to bet against him; Patrick has consistently found ways to make an impact, and as we saw during the offseason program, he's been able to connect with Wilson on some deep balls.

Below the Fold

The Broncos' receiving corps is certainly one of its strongest position groups, but for Pro Football Focus' Ben Linsey, the team's biggest strength is the group that they face in practice. In a new article for ESPN, Linsey and PFF provide an evaluation of each team's roster, and Denver's defensive backs come away as the team's top unit.

"It's not quite the 'No Fly Zone,' but Denver has put together a nice collection of talent in its secondary," Linsey wrote. "Pat Surtain II looked like a veteran in his first season out of Alabama last year, as he gave up virtually nothing downfield in 2021 with just one reception allowed into his coverage on 14 targets of 20 or more yards. He and Justin Simmons head the unit entering 2022, but there aren't many weak points to attack with veterans Ronald Darby, K'Waun Williams and Kareem Jackson rounding out the starting group."

The Unclassifieds

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