One thing some people might remember from the quarterback issues the Broncos dealt with during the 2020 NFL season. In fact, one week, they didn’t have an available quarterback on the roster at all.
After all their quarterbacks were exposed to COVID-19, the Broncos were desperate for someone to fill in against the Saints in Week 12.
That person? Wide receiver Kendall Hinton.
Hinton was an undrafted free agent out of Wake Forest, where he played as quarterback for three seasons and then wide receiver for two seasons. He made it onto the Broncos’ 90-man training camp roster but was cut in Sept. 2020. He later rejoined on their practice squad on Nov. 4, 2020, just weeks before he would end up making his unexpected NFL debut.
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Here’s a look back at Hinton’s performance last year, along with how he’s doing this season as a wide receiver.
Why did Kendall Hinton start at QB for the Broncos?
When quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of Nov. 2020, it was revealed that Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles came in close contact with him and were not wearing masks. They were ruled out for Denver’s Week 12 game against the Saints because they had violated the NFL’s COVID protocol.
The Broncos were desperate at the position, so they called up Hinton from their practice squad. Since Hinton had played quarterback for three years at Wake Forest, the Broncos allowed him to take over the role for the week. The Broncos wanted the game to be postponed, but the NFL refused to do so because the team’s quarterbacks had knowingly broken COVID protocol.
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Kendall Hinton QB stats
The 31-3 loss to the Saints ended up being Hinton’s only game in 2020. He only completed one of nine passes for 13 yards. He threw two interceptions on top of that. Additionally, he rushed for seven yards and scored no touchdowns.
Hinton didn’t let this blowout game stand in the way of him improving his skills as a wideout this season.
“I knew that (New Orleans game) would probably be my last game as a quarterback,” Hinton said, via The Denver Post. “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.”
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How Kendall Hinton has fared in 2021
As a wide receiver this year, Hinton has appeared in four games. In his first game this season against the Jaguars in Week 2, which the Broncos won 23-13, he had 15 receiving yards for one catch. He missed Week 3’s win over the Jets, but has played in the three most recent games since.
Against the Ravens, Hinton had 13 yards; against the Steelers, he had 25 yards and a touchdown (the only one of his NFL career to date); and, against the Raiders, he caught five passes for 37 yards.