DENVER -- Broncos receiver Cody Latimer sits at the crossroads of his career with his blinker on.
He owns 16 catches in three seasons, and never more than eight in any of them. He has one touchdown reception, memorable because it happened in Brock Osweiler's starting debut at Chicago, but one nonetheless. Latimer needs no reminder. He understands he must earn a roster spot in training camp.
In an exclusive interview with Denver7, he insisted this season will be different.
"I am very ready. The page has turned," Latimer said last week. "It's a whole new book."
Latimer boasts freakish athleticism. So good at hoops in high school, many thought he would play Division I basketball because of his 39-inch vertical leap. He makes eye-opening plays every August, specifically on 50-50 balls. And yet it has never translated in the regular season, leaving Latimer to carve out a role as a solid special teams contributor. There's value in that spot, but not what the Broncos envisioned when they selected him in the second round out of Indiana in 2014.
A horrible fit with the Adam Gase-Peyton Manning offense -- Manning's intelligence intimidated Latimer -- and an afterthought with the Gary Kubiak-led attack -- Latimer pointed the finger in the mirror when explaining his struggles.
"It was a decent offseason. The (new Mike McCoy offense) helped a lot, but honestly it was more about me helping myself and becoming a pro. I have been focused and changed a lot of things I was doing," Latimer said. "It's head down and eyes up. To tell you the truth, I wasn't being a professional before. I really wasn't. That's the big change. Being a pro. Like staying around here and training rather than going places. Grinding everyday. Getting in the playbook instead of sitting around watching TV, things I shouldn't have done. I ain't afraid to admit it."
Lack of performance motivated Latimer. But becoming a father jarred him, setting the 24-year-old on a new path.
"Really, it was having my little one (1-and-a-half-year-old J.J.). Like I said, now it's different. I know this offense like the back of my hand," Latimer said. "I am studying all the time, and I am making plays. I don't have to think and be nervous or worried about this and that. I can just play and be confident."
Latimer showed well over the past few months. During media viewing periods, he caught multiple touchdown passes. The competition is real. The Broncos return veteran reserves Bennie Fowler and Jordan Taylor, and drafted Carlos Henderson and Isaiah McKenzie at his position.
"I believe it's going to to happen. The confidence I had in college is back. I have that swagger back," Latimer said. "It's taken longer than expected. But as long as it happens, that's the key. It's going to be a big year."
Veteran Emmanuel Sanders hinted at a breakthrough for Latimer. Talking about the group, he singled out Latimer.
"We've got one of the most underrated wide receiving corps because no on really knows about Cody Latimer," Sanders said. "This guy can play some ball."
The entire offense left June believing improvement will follow. But certainty in the concept remains tricky until the Broncos decide on a winner in the quarterback derby between Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch.
"I get asked. Nobody knows. They are both looking good. That's why we have training camp," Latimer said. "I can't wait. That's why I am here training. I want to get in the best work before we get going again."