Rookie Sutton already claiming Broncos' No. 3 WR job?

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While Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders have been established as one of the league's most productive receiving tandems, the Broncos have struggled to find a reliable third option in the aerial attack going back to the end of the Peyton Manning era.

Judging from the early indications out of Englewood this summer, the search is over.

Second-round rookie Courtland Sutton's penchant for pulling off highlight-reel catches has been "the talk of camp" early on, NFL Network's James Palmer reported on Friday's edition of Inside Training Camp Live.

The highest praise has come from Denver's veteran cornerbacks who told Palmer, "He is the third receiver. It's not even a competition. Everyone on this team knows it."

At 6-foot-3 with a wide enough body to box out defensive backs, Sutton is a godsend for a red-zone offense that ranked last in the NFL in 2017. Jump balls in his direction are not just 50-50 attempts, coach Vance Joseph emphasized, because Sutton plays even bigger than his size.

"I think he'll have a lot of mismatches," Pro Bowl cornerback Chris Harris Jr. told USA TODAY Sports. "After watching him, I don't see how he didn't go top 10 [in the draft], at least."

The one fly in the ointment is route running, which Denver's cornerbacks acknowledged isn't up to par just yet.

It's clear that Sutton has the edge over Carlos Henderson and fellow rookie DaeSean Hamilton for the No. 3 role, but week-to-week consistency will be an issue until quarterback Case Keenum trusts him to be where he's supposed to be on every route.

If the Broncos are going to avoid their first back-to-back losing seasons since the early 1970s, general manager John Elway must hit the jackpot with his 2018 draft class. So far, so good on that front.

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