Courtland Sutton missed the Peyton Manning era in Denver by three seasons and has instead been around for the Broncos' revolving door at quarterback. From Case Keenum to Joe Flacco to Drew Lock to Teddy Bridgewater and a host of subs, Sutton has caught passes from a cavalcade of QBs.
"We all can feel it," Sutton said Tuesday, via the team's official website. "The juice is just different. I wasn't around when Peyton came or was here, but from what I'm hearing from everyone who was here when Peyton was here, the juice and the energy is pretty similar, knowing we have a guy that has been at the top of that mountain before, has won a Super Bowl before, [who] does know what it's like to be at the highest level for his position and to lead a team to a Super Bowl."
With the new star quarterback comes higher expectations for a team that sported a playoff-caliber roster but was submarined by the quarterback position the last few years.
"Everyone in the building understands the expectation, the standards, are being risen to everyone's best -- from the cooks to the equipment guys, video -- everyone in the building understands that we have to operate at a different level, operate at a different standard," Sutton added. "It's Russ, plus coach (Nathaniel) Hackett and the new coaching staff. Everyone is bringing that new juice, that new energy into the building. I think everyone is buying into it and understanding what the standard is."
Ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas, the Broncos sport a well-rounded roster, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. The receiver quartet of Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler is diverse and talented; Javonte Williams is a stud out of the backfield; and the offensive line is solid with the potential to be very good. The defensive secondary is lock-down, led by Justin Simmons and Patrick Surtain. The pass rush added Randy Gregory and imported underrated defensive tackle D.J. Jones.
Adding Wilson is viewed as the most significant piece to finally get the Broncos back to competing in the tough AFC West. But Sutton knows championships aren't won in March and April.
"Nothing's going to be given to us because we have a lot of names on the roster," he said. "It's on us to be able to go and put the work in, day in and day out, so at the end of the day we can look up and be where we want to be.
"Everyone wants to be at the top of the mountain holding the Lombardi Trophy and being world champions."