Kendall Hinton’s unlikely NFL journey continues as Broncos wideout appears ready for expanded role
As the Broncos' emergency QB last year vs New Orleans, Hinton was 1-of-9 passing for 13 yards and two interceptions
After filling in as the Broncos’ emergency quarterback in last year’s 31-3 blowout loss to New Orleans, Kendall Hinton knew his performance — 1-of-9 passing for 13 yards and two interceptions — wasn’t going to warrant another shot throwing the ball.
But that experience of getting thrown into the fire as an undrafted rookie only emboldened his NFL goals. After converting from QB to wideout at Wake Forest, and then spending 2020 as a wideout on the Broncos’ practice squad, Hinton has earned expanded playing time in the wake of injuries to Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler.
“I knew that (New Orleans game) would probably be my last game as a quarterback,” Hinton said Wednesday. “But I also knew there was a lot of work to do at wideout… I knew I had potential and that if I continued to develop, you never know where you’re going to be.”
That long-term tunnel vision is already paying dividends. After a strong training camp and preseason, the Broncos signed the second-year undrafted pro to their practice squad; he was then promoted to the active roster Sept. 14, two days after Jeudy sustained a high ankle sprain in the season opener.
Hinton recorded his first NFL catch that week, a 15-yard reception in the win over Jacksonville. He added another catch in Week 4 against Baltimore and two more last Sunday in Pittsburgh, both of which came as the Broncos rallied in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater found Hinton for the wideout’s first NFL score on fourth down early in the fourth quarter, cutting the Steelers’ lead to 24-13. Hinton came up with a 23-yard catch on third-and-5 late in the quarter, setting the Broncos up in the red zone on their final drive. The catch came on a play Hinton didn’t get to rep in practice.