The Denver Broncos are hosting a familiar face today at Dove Valley. Broncos fans know him as the recipient of the Immaculate Deflection, one of the most memorable receptions in Broncos history.
With one amazing grab, Brandon Stokley spurred the Denver Broncos on to a six-game winning streak at the beginning of the 2009 season. His stunning grab came with just 11 seconds left in the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The game was slipping away from Denver down 6-7 with just under a minute to play. The pass by former quarterback Kyle Orton was meant to go to Brandon Marshall, when it was tipped up in the air and landed in Stokley’s arms, who promptly turned on the jets to complete an 87-yard go-ahead touchdown reception, his only catch of the game.
It was a case of Stokley being in the right place at the right time. It appears like he has again positioned himself in a spot to provide a huge boost to the Denver Broncos with his upcoming visit to the Broncos facility.
Not only would Stokley be re-uniting with the Broncos, but another stint in Denver would re-unite him with the quarterback who was throwing to him for his best season in the pros, Peyton Manning.
Stokley’s only season in which he accrued over 1,000 yards receiving came in 2004, in his second season in Indianapolis. Stokley had 68 receptions for 1,077 yards and caught 10 touchdown passes. Stokley and Manning also enjoyed a Super Bowl XLI victory together in 2006.
Stokley’s nickname, “the slot machine,” is well-deserved, because he has an ability to make third-down conversions from the slot consistently. He is a fast receiver who can find openings in the defense and move the sticks. Stokley would be an ideal replacement for Eddie Royal who left for the San Diego Chargers this offseason in free agency.
Stokley was also one of the attributing factors that Manning chose Denver. While visiting Denver last month, Manning stayed with his old friend Stokley, and even tossed the ball around at a small park in Castle Rock, CO.
After the workout, Stokley reported to the media that Manning was ready to go for 2012.
“Just seeing him work out, see him make all the throws, like I said, to me, he’ll step right in and I believe he can play in a football game tomorrow and play at a high level.”
Stokley also worked out with Manning while he was rehabbing at Duke University where he caught passes from Manning for three straight days.
Stokley would be an ideal veteran to bring in for Manning in 2012. He could compete in training camp. He could push the Broncos’ receiving corps and provide some leadership to a group of developing receivers on the Broncos roster. With his age and declining production he would also come at a reduced price tag. Low-risk, high-reward potential.
Worst-case scenario: Stokley competes in training camp and gives Manning a familiar face in a new town. Best-case scenario: The Manning to Stokley connection finds new life and develops into a top duo in the NFL.