ENGLEWOOD, Colo.- There he was, running a go-route along the right sideline in one-on-one coverage drills as Mark Sanchez heaved a deep pass in his direction. The ball was out of reach. It looked to be at least four or five yards off its target. It didn’t have a prayer.
Then, out of thin air, Jordan “Sunshine” Taylor reached up with his right hand, fell backwards, and somersaulted onto the ground. When he got up, the ball was in his hand. He caught it, Odell Beckham, Jr. style.
“The catch,” as it was called, may wind up being the best play of the entire 2016 Broncos’ training camp, and it made Taylor the unquestioned star of day No. 2.
“Honestly, I just threw my hand up,” Taylor said. “Thank God for these gloves. It just kind of stuck in there. I haven’t seen it on film. So, I’ll check it out in a little bit.”
Head coach Gary Kubiak was with rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch on the opposite field when Taylor made the catch. It was even impressive from that distance.
“I saw it from like 75-yards away,” Kubiak said. “It was obviously something special. We’ll take a peek.”
Taylor’s gone on a fascinating journey in the last two seasons with Denver. He emerged as a fan favorite during training camp last season before making the practice squad. Then, Taylor spent extensive time with Peyton Manning while the five-time MVP rehabbed from a foot injury.
“Working with Peyton last year was priceless,” Taylor said. “The things he taught me during his rehab—that’s something I’ll take the rest of my career and definitely into this camp.”
Manning went as far as to compliment Taylor during his retirement press conference.
“Jordan Taylor —remember that name,” Manning said.
Taylor is locked in a position battle against Cody Latimer, Jordan Norwood, and Bennie Fowler for the Broncos’ number three receiver job. Even his competitors had good things to say about “Sunshine” after practice.
“‘Sunshine’ has a great radius for the ball,” Fowler said.
Taylor is 6-foot-5 and weighs 215-pounds, but he’s shown speed and route running ability well above what one would expect from a receiver his size. During his four-year career at Rice University he recorded 176 catches for 2,588 and 20 touchdowns.
While the Broncos’ coaches are days, if not weeks, from deciding who wins the job, Kubiak had high praise for Taylor both as a player and a person.
“Jordan is an interesting kid,” Kubiak said. It seems like the harder things get and the longer we practice and those types of things is when he starts to play at his best. His legs got a little tired today, but he keeps going. I think his conditioning level gives him a chance to be a really good player.”