clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Broncos Position Battle Review: The #3 Tight End

Aug 9, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Denver Broncos head coach John Fox during the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Aug 9, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Denver Broncos head coach John Fox during the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

With the positive feedback we got about the last Position Battle Review we decided to keep the same format. Last time we covered the battle for the #4 wide receiver spot, today we'll be looking at the #3 tight end spot and see who seems to be in the lead. We'll be looking at Virgil Green, Julius Thomas, Anthony Miller and Cornelius Ingram and we'll also hear from a few staffers on their thoughts on the position.

Next Time: The #4 CB Spot

Virgil Green:

Virgil Green

#85 / Tight End / Denver Broncos



August 3, 1987


Has physical tools to succeed as any type of tight end
- Exceptional blocker
- Saw time as an H-back moving from tight end to the fullback position

Only saw limited receiving action in 2011
- Still a bit raw in terms of route running
- Still developing soft hands for receiving

Outlook So Far:

It looks pretty good so far for Green, who surpassed Julius Thomas in the first depth chart of the pre-season. And while he didn't have a reception in the Bears game, he did see more action than any tight end besides Cornelius Ingram. His low draft positions hurts him a bit, but his blocking production from 2011 and having a solid training camp seem to set a pretty bright future for Green, and with his suspension on 4 games rather than 6, it might not hurt him as bad as previously thought.

Julius Thomas:

Julius Thomas

#80 / Tight End / Denver Broncos



Jun 27, 1988

Portland State

Extremely physical
- Good hands
- Ability to use size and speed

Very limited football experience
- Not experienced as a blocker
- Has an injury history

Outlook So Far:

Overall Thomas' draft position will help him make the team, but the fact he was demoted before the first game of the pre-season sends a message. Thomas' injuries also are hurting his ability to get on the field and prove the coaches wrong. At this point, Thomas has done little to help himself and will need to impress when he gets healthy if he wants to see much playing time in 2012.

Anthony Miller:

Anthony Miller

#86 / Tight End / Denver Broncos



Jan 22, 1990


No NFL Statistics

A large, physical tight end
Natural leader
- Natural pass catcher

- No real speed to get deep or break away from man coverage
- Not a strong blocker
- Lacks agility and is clumsy in routes

Outlook So Far:

Miller has yet to make an impression, he saw little time in the first pre-season game and had little impact. In camp he's also not really broken out, though he has made a handful of plays, they've been few and far between. While Miller was listed above Ingram in the depth chart, Ingram saw more playing time in the pre-season game and Miller will have to blow people away to just avoid being cut let alone being the #3 tight end.

Cornelius Ingram:

Cornelius Ingram

#82 / Tight End / Denver Broncos



Jun 10, 1985


No NFL Statistics

Surprising speed for his weight
- Nice hands, can make catches away from his body
- Fluid in his route running

- Lacks the ability to block
- Has some character concerns
- Hasn't shown he's back to his pre-ACL tear condition

Outlook So Far:

Prior to the first pre-season game, Ingram was regulated to the bottom of the tight end depth chart, but he had a very solid game and looks like a solid tight end. The issue comes from his inconsistency at camp, looking great on some plays then just disappearing or struggling for the next drive or drill. This inconsistency will be what keeps him from seeing game time, because he has shown he can succeed, if he puts his mind to it.

Staffer Thoughts:


With Julius Thomas' ankle injury, I think he's pretty far behind in the race for #3. Compound that with his comparatively small experience with the position (coming from basketball), I think he's got an uphill battle. That said, Virgil Green didn't do any favors for himself by getting nabbed for substance abuse earlier this offseason. It's only because the medication he was taking for his ADHD has now been approved for his consumption by the league (thus giving him a shot at getting the ruling reversed), that I say Green has the best shot at #3.


Well Virgil is suspended for the first 3 games I believe, so he may stick and start out on the suspended list. Once he gets off, we'll see what the Broncos do. Julius is struggling in camp it seems. He is still struggling to come back from that ankle injury. He will need a strong preseason, or just flash a few times to make it. I don't know if he's on the roster bubble or not, to early to give up on him, but he needs to get healthy.


This one is actually an easier one to answer than one might think. There are four candidates for the last spot: Virgil Green, Julius Thomas, Cornelius Ingram and Anthony Miller. All of them were brought in by Fox/Elway. Miller is an undrafted rookie who might land a spot on the practice squad if he shines in training camp and the preseason. Ingram is a one-year player who has had injury problems and been signed to and waived from two different practice squads. This leaves the Thomas and Green battling it out for the final spot. Neither player saw much action during their rookie season -- Green had a slight edge due to Thomas missing most of the 2011 season with an ankle injury suffered in Week 2. Neither one has particularly impressive stats -- Green had three catches in fifteen games (three starts) while Thomas had one catch in four games (one start). I'm inclined to believe that the deciding factor will be the fact that Green is facing a four-game suspension to open the 2012 season.

Therefore, I'm suggesting a depth chart of Jacob Tamme, Joel Dressen and Julius Thomas.

Wrapping Up:

As I said when we covered the #4 wide receiver spot, it's still early, the competition is underway, things can, and likely will change, but as of this point, I'd say Green seems to have the best chance of winning this competition.

Thanks for reading, let me know your thoughts, and as I said before, if you have a competition you want us to look at, comment and let us know.

Next Time: The #4 CB Spot