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Broncos double-down on offensive firepower, draft KJ Hamler in second round

Iowa cornerback Michael Ojemudia, LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry, Arkansas DL McTelvin Agim taken in third round.
Credit: AP Photo/Al Goldis
Penn State receiver KJ Hamler, right, eludes Michigan State's David Dowell (6) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in East Lansing, Mich.

DENVER — Not that the Kansas City Chiefs are scared of anybody but it figures the Broncos have at least caught their attention.

Doubling down on offensive firepower, the Broncos with their second-round selection, No. 46 overall, in the NFL Draft on Friday took speedy, if smallish Penn State receiver/returner KJ Hamler.

His pick comes less than 24 hours after the Broncos took Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy in the first round.

"I’m a playmaker and I got a chip on my shoulder the whole time," Hamler said in a Zoom media conference call after speaking to Broncos general manager John Elway. "I’ve been an underdog my whole life so being in this situation and being part of the Broncos’ organization, it’s amazing. I’m going to give them 150 percent, 24-7, 365. That’s me."

RELATED: 9 fast facts to know about Broncos No. 46 overall pick K.J. Hamler

Bronco followers who wanted a cornerback, inside linebacker, center or left tackle? Remember, the Broncos averaged 17.6 points a game last year, 28th in the NFL.

The Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes II, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce who averaged 28.2 points per game last season – and 39.0 points in three postseason games while going on to win the Super Bowl – and 35.3 points in 2018.

Second-year Broncos quarterback Drew Lock now is loaded with weapons to try and compete with the Chiefs on the scoreboard twice a year. The Broncos’ offensive weapons now include running backs Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay, receivers Courtland Sutton, Jeudy and Hamler and tight end Noah Fant.

Hamler is 5-8 ½, 178 pounds, but he runs 40 yards in 4.32 seconds. That’s flying. He was both a receiver and dual returner for Penn State as a redshirt freshman and sophomore the past two years, averaging 16.9 yards a catch, 23.5 yards a kickoff return and 6.0 yards a punt return.

He redshirted one year at Penn State when current Broncos DaeSean Hamilton was a senior receiver. Hamler's selection is likely tough news for Hamilton, who figures to drop down the depth chart.

"He showed me the ropes as a freshman coming in at Penn State,'' Hamler said. "I've always kept in touch with him. I've always looked up to him as a big brother.''

It's the second time this season the Broncos acquired a player to take a former college teammate's spot on the roster. Nick Vannett was signed to essentially replace Jeff Heuerman as the Broncos' blocking tight end. Vannett and Heuerman were teammates at Ohio State.

The Broncos used the third round to fill needs as they took Iowa cornerback Michael Ujemudia with their No. 77 selection, LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry III at No. 83 and Arkansas defensive lineman McTelvin Agim at No. 95.

Ujemudia said he talked extensively with Broncos defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Ed Donatell. Entering the draft, Ujemudia said he felt like the Broncos would be his best fit.

"Just the tradition in Denver,'' he said in his Zoom video call. "Growing up in Detroit, playing in Iowa, Denver just has a really great football tradition. Really gritty. The kind of scheme they run on defense, the coaching, putting all that together. Plus, the front office, everybody is good down to the core and I feel like that's the best fit for me.''

In the third and final day of the draft Saturday, the Broncos will have pick in each of the fourth (No. 118 overall), fifth (No. 178) and sixth (No. 181) rounds and two in the seventh (No.'s 252, 254).

RELATED: Life of Jeudy: Broncos new receiver plans to gift some of his new riches on mom

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