Broncos traded a 2017 draft to New England for TE AJ Derby, per source. https://t.co/q4iAghsnQM— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 25, 2016
ESPN's Field Yates is reporting that the Broncos sent a 2017 5th round pick to the Patriots for Derby's services.
Derby is a 6'5", 255-pound tight end who has some speed and big play ability to his game. He was a 6th round pick by the Patriots in the 2015 NFL Draft but has only played in 4 career NFL games and has not recorded any stats. Derby did play in all four preseason games this year and totaled 15 catches for 189 yards and 1 touchdown.
Denver Broncos General Manager said Derby can help the team "immediately" and has tremendous upside.
"A.J. is a young tight end who can help us immediately. He has tremendous upside and will fit in well on our team."
The Broncos have questions at the tight end position, so Derby gives them an explosive/move tight end to use going forward since Green, Heuerman, and Phillips have not done much in the passing game this year.
Here is the Scouting Report on Derby from NFL.com prior to the 2015 NFL Draft.
Big, physical and fast. Athletic in space with ability to create some separation out of breaks. Has speed after catch in open field. Posted impressive 54-yard touchdown catch and run against Alabama secondary that struggled to catch him. Can line up all over the field. Natural pass-catcher. Had only one drop during 2014 season. Showed willingness to catch throws over the middle and take the punishment. Unique perspective after playing quarterback and linebacker before move to tight end. Ability to add roster depth at two positions as emergency quarterback. Comes from football bloodlines. Father and uncle had stops in the NFL and his brother lettered at Iowa.
Has only one year of tight end experience. Routes have very little polish to them. He needs time to learn the nuances of position. Run blocking very much a work in progress. Uses poor hand placement and fails to sustain blocks when in-line. Balance at contact needs to improve when blocking in spaces. Has habit of using one rather than two hands for difficult catches. Was unable to play in final game (Texas Bowl) due to knee injury and continues to heal.
Derby has a lot of promise it seems. He has the good size and speed and could become a weapon in the passing game for the Broncos going forward. General Manager John Elway gave up a 5th round pick for a guy who has only played in four career NFL games and has yet to record a catch in the NFL, so they must see something they like.
I'd expect a corresponding roster move to be one of the Broncos tight ends currently on the roster being cut. The most likely candidate would be veteran John Phillips, but we will see.
UPDATE: 10/25/2016 3:53 P.M. MT
To make room for Derby, the Broncos have released safety Shiloh Keo.
Broncos released Shiloh Keo to make room for A.J. Derby.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) October 25, 2016