Courtland Sutton's 2022 Projections & Outlook
#16 Wide Receiver
159.4 Projected Points
DS 3D Projections
What You Need to Know:
- Sutton spent most of last offseason rehabbing a September 2020 ACL tear. He avoided the PUP list to open training camp, played in Denver’s preseason finale and was active for Week 1.
- Sutton finished the 2021 campaign with a 58-776-2 receiving line. He ranked 45th among WRs in PPR points, 47th in half-PPR points and 51st in non-PPR points.
- Sutton had massive splits with and without WR Jerry Jeudy, who missed 6 games with a high-ankle sprain and 1 on the COVID list.
- In those 7 games Jeudy missed, Sutton averaged 8.6 targets (24.6% share), 5.7 catches, 83.6 yards and .29 TDs. His PPR scoring average in those games would have ranked 13th among WRs for the season.
- In 10 games with Jeudy, Sutton averaged just 3.8 targets (12.8%), 1.8 catches, 19.1 yards and 0 TDs. That’s 3.7 PPR points per game, which would have ranked 152nd among WRs for the season. Sutton didn’t finish as a top-45 PPR WR in any of those 10 weeks.
- Sutton ranked 49th among 89 qualifying WRs in Pro Football Focus’ 2021 receiving grades. That was 2 spots ahead of Jeudy and 2 spots behind teammate Tim Patrick.
- Sutton’s 1.43 yards per route run ranked 60th among those 89 qualifying WRs – behind both Jeudy (1.85) and Patrick (1.48).
- Sutton was better over his first 2 NFL seasons.
- He posted a 42-704-4 line and PPR WR50 finish as a rookie in 2018. He ranked 65th in PFF receiving grade and 58th in yards per route run among 79 qualifiers.
- Sutton broke out with 1,112 yards and 6 scores on 72 catches in 2019, finishing 19th among WRs in PPR points. He ranked 13th in PFF grade and 12th in yards per route run among 79 qualifiers.
- Sutton has dealt with subpar QB play throughout his time in Denver: Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater. The Broncos ranked 21st in 2018 PFF passing grade, 29th in 2019 and 19th last year.
- QB Russell Wilson will be a big upgrade in 2022. He struggled after suffering a right finger injury last October. But Wilson was excellent before that and had shown no signs of decline the previous few seasons.
- Sutton will play under a new coaching staff this offseason after the Broncos named Nathaniel Hackett their HC.
- It’s Hackett’s first crack at a HC gig. He has 8 years of NFL OC experience: 2013-2014 with the Bills, 2016-2018 with the Jaguars and 2019-2021 with the Packers.
- Hackett’s Bills and Jaguars offenses – piloted by E.J. Manuel, Kyle Orton and Blake Bortles – were run leaning. But Hackett went pass heavier when he hooked up with Aaron Rodgers. The Packers ranked 7th, 9th and 11th in situation-neutral pass rate the last 3 seasons.
- With Wilson and Hackett in town, we’re projecting the Broncos to pass at a tangibly higher clip than they did last season.
- Sutton will face similar target competition this season, with Jeudy, Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon all back. The Broncos lost TE Noah Fant in the Russell Wilson trade but retain TE Albert Okwuegbunam and drafted TE Greg Dulcich in Round 3. They’ll also get WR K.J. Hamler back after last September’s torn ACL, but Sutton does get a target boost with Tim Patrick out for the season (ACL tear).
- The Broncos gave Sutton a 4-year, $60.8 million extension in November, so the team obviously views him as a big part of their offense.
Draft Sharks Bottom Line:
It was a tale of 2 seasons for Sutton last year. He scored as PPR WR13 in 7 games without WR Jerry Jeudy but WR152 in 10 games with Jeudy. It’s worth remembering that he was coming off a September 2020 ACL tear – but it’s tough to blame that for the inconsistency.
Jeudy is back for 2022 – but Tim Patrick isn't following a summer ACL tear. Sutton is getting a huge QB upgrade in Russell Wilson and will be playing under a new coaching staff led by HC Nathaniel Hackett. Sutton also opened his NFL career with 2 promising seasons and is still just 26.
So, while the 2021 season is concerning, we’re more than open to a bounce-back campaign from Sutton. He's a WR2 with immense upside.