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Courtland Sutton appears to be coming on in year 2

Broncos receiver began his rookie season as No. 3 behind Thomas and Sanders. He's been No. 1 this offseason.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton runs after a catch during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos don’t hand out awards in May.

If they did, Courtland Sutton would get the honor of the offensive player who has made the biggest improvement from his rookie year. (Bradley Chubb, who has seemed unblockable at times during OTA team periods, would get the defensive honor.)

Sutton has been the receiver most targeted by new quarterback Joe Flacco, at least when the media has been allowed to observe.

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“I think I’m a little more comfortable,’’ Sutton said. “Last year, I really didn’t know what to expect coming into OTAs, coming into minicamp and training camp. All I knew was just go out there and play, but I didn’t really know how to really work on my technique. ...

“I’m fine tuning those and being able to be cautious of that, watching film and noticing that on film, being a critic and not just saying, ‘Oh I caught it. That’s good enough.’ I have to be able to dissect it and be like, ‘Oh, I leaned a little bit here. My steps were off. I was short. I was deep.’ All of these different things that go into making sure that I’m fine tuning my craft instead of just saying, ‘I got to the slot I was supposed to be in,’ or, ‘I caught the pass.’”

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Much is expected from Sutton this year. The team didn’t add a receiver in free agency or the top end of the draft. And Emmanuel Sanders is still recovering from Achilles surgery.

But John Elway didn’t think his new quarterback needed new targets. The second-year development of Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton would be plenty.

Sutton struggled as the team’s No. 1 receiver down the stretch last season. But here’s some encouragement. As a rookie, Sutton’s 704 receiving yards were better than the rookie seasons of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders combined (659).

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