Denver Broncos Fight For 53 -- Tight End Battle

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 01: Tight end Virgil Green #85 of the Denver Broncos is unable to catch a pass pressured by safety Hamza Abdullah #21 of the Arizona Cardinals during the preseason NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 1, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Broncos 26-7. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


How many Tight Ends to keep in 2011?  I look at the talent available, and I think I could keep 5 of them and be pretty content, but that simply isn't going to happen. We can be sure that Free Agent addition Daniel Fells is a lock.  He also is the only TE not to get reps on Thursday night. However (and this is still speculation on my part, though I feel it is accurate), I believe that Julius Thomas also has a starting spot locked up, as a wingback. He ran with the starters in that role vs. Buffalo and Seattle, but the real test is whether he has that role Monday night vs. the Raiders. Until I see that I will hold off on projecting his role too much, however I WILL give him one of the solid roster spots at TE.

Projected number of Tight End roster spots up for grabs:  2
  • Dan Gronkowski:  Gronk has been relatively invisible all preseason, but got plenty of time in the final preseason game, where he proved to be adequate.  I marked him down twice for blocking, once in the passing game, once in the running game.  The pass block whiff would have gotten any QB but Tebow killed. He did however run good routes and I think that Denver is including him when they talk about TEs who can get open.  Projection:  takes one of two roster spots available.
  • Dante Rosario:  Didn't get open, didn't lead block well, didn't stand out for good or ill blocking on the edge in pass pro or run blocking. He is a one year Free Agent brought over by Fox from Carolina, but he doesn't look to be putting his versatility to use just yet.  While other TEs are flashing or failing, Rosario is simply disappearing.  Projection:  Veteran addition displaced by the unlikely Julius Thomas.  Released on cutdown day.
  • Virgil Green Green has had a lot of ups and downs throughout preseason, and I would say he is probably more consistently off than on, though it is very, very close and he has been improving his routes and in line blocking. He blocks adequately as a turn-his-man kind of blocker, but is still developing as a pusher. His hands look good, and when he flashes, he is noticeable.  A big fast target.  Projection:  Green survives cutdown to take the final TE roster spot.
  • With 4 TEs manning H-back and wingback slots in addition to normal duties, it should keep them pretty busy.  Fells, Thomas, Gronkowski and Green should allow for three activations consistently, to allow for the 3TE sets that Denver runs, while still holding back some developmental talent in case of emergency.

    But that is just my projections.  Would you rather we keep Rosario?  Think 4 TEs is one too many?

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