Meet Kendall Hinton, the unlikeliest of Broncos quarterbacks
The Denver Broncos have run out of quarterbacks ahead of Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints due to the NFL's COVID-19 protocols, and the team has had to search deep down its roster to find its expected starter under center.
Enter Kendall Hinton.
The undrafted rookie - a wide receiver on Denver's practice squad - is reportedly expected to take most of the snaps at quarterback for the Broncos. He'll be doing so against one of the NFL's best teams and with little-to-no preparation. But playing quarterback isn't entirely new to the 23-year-old.
So, who is the man who will be under center for the Broncos in Week 12?
Hinton was once thought to be Wake Forest's quarterback of the future.
The dual-threat signal-caller appeared in nine games (two starts) as a freshman until mononucleosis ended his campaign prematurely. He then suffered a knee injury that limited his sophomore year to just three appearances.
Hinton was expected to become Wake Forest's starting QB in his junior season, but a three-game suspension for violating team rules kept him sidelined for the start of the campaign. The delay cost him the starting role and pushed him to become a wide receiver.
His move to full-time pass-catching in his senior year couldn't have gone better: Hinton led the Demon Deacons with 73 receptions for 1,001 yards while catching four touchdowns.
Path to the NFL
Hinton didn't hear his name called during April's draft, but he signed an undrafted deal with the Broncos days after the event. Despite a positive training camp, he failed to make the regular-season roster and was waived in September.
The Broncos didn't forget him, though, adding the wideout to their practice squad on Nov. 4.
What to expect
Hinton has never taken the field as an NFL player - let alone as a quarterback. The Broncos can't really expect anything from him; he was their only choice if they wanted any quarterbacking experience under center this weekend.
Ironically, he's thrown a touchdown pass more recently than Taysom Hill, who will start his second straight game for the Saints in relief of Drew Brees.
Hinton's last touchdown throw came on Oct. 7, 2017, against Clemson. Hill tossed his latest score on Nov. 26, 2016, versus Utah State, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
The Broncos are expected to rely heavily on the running game against New Orleans, and having two starting-caliber runners in Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon should help.
Hinton will probably line up mostly in pistol formations, and at some point, he'll have to make a play. It's tough to imagine Denver having any chance of even competing against the Saints otherwise: The Buffalo Bills were the last team to win an NFL game without completing a single pass, doing so against the New York Jets in 1974.