There's a learning curve and then there is the twisting, turning, work-fast riddle that is the Denver Broncos' offensive playbook. And that is what Broncos rookie receiver Cody Latimer must navigate to go from draft pick with piles of potential to draft pick with a productive place in a fast-paced touchdown factory.
"Our code words have code words, our signals have signals," said Broncos wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert. "To be able to put that together, to know what's the real deal. Is it an audible? Is it a dummy call? It takes a while to get all that running smoothly. ... And that's the major hurdle for any young guy in our offense, just to know all there is to know as fast as we need you to know it.''
And then Tolbert added with a smile: "but I'd venture to say he's picking it up fairly well ... for a rookie."
A rookie that is looking more and more like he can be, despite the Broncos' obvious firepower and depth on offense, a contributor when the Broncos close in on the end zone. Sunday, in the Broncos' 34-0 preseason win over the San Francisco 49ers, Latimer caught his first scoring pass in a game for the Broncos.
He showed his top-tier speed up the right sideline and backup quarterback Brock Osweiler tossed a 33-yard scoring pass that he dove to catch.
The starting jobs in the Broncos' three-wide receiver look are largely spoken for with Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Emmanuel Sanders set to get the bulk of the plays. But when the May draft rolled around, the Broncos were still on the hunt for a little more size at the position, and when the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Latimer was still on the board when their second-round pick rolled around they grabbed him. He could end up as a WR4 on the team, but that still doesn't mean he'll have a lot of fantasy value. But as we saw last year when one of the top three went down, and Andre Caldwell stepped in, Caldwell contributed. With an offense like Denver, Latimer is definitely someone to keep an eye on at the position once the season starts.