Good Morning, Broncos Country.
Virgil Green, Jeff Heuerman and Garrett Graham.
That is your trio of tight ends scheduled to receive significant playing time for the Denver Broncos in 2016.
Should fans be excited about this rotation or is there a cause for concern?
Green signed a three-year extension with the club last off-season after his initial four years on his rookie contract with the squad. Alas, he has never produced significantly at an NFL level during the course of his career, despite having a unique combination of size and speed that allowed him to be a mismatch for opposing defenses in college.
The team elected to use a third-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft on Ohio State product Jeff Heuerman who missed all of last year with a torn ACL. He is eager to get back on the field in 2016, but whether or not he will be able to remain healthy and have an impact for a squad in desperate need of production at the tight end position remains to be seen.
Last but not least, Graham has extensive knowledge and experience with Head Coach Gary Kubiak's offensive system. He hasn't put up Pro-Bowl caliber numbers, but has performed well enough to merit a spot on an NFL roster and should be a nice safety valve for whoever the Broncos starting quarterback is.
In order to improve their numbers inside the red zone, one of these players will have to step up their game and play at a level they haven't demonstrated in the past. If they fail to do this, there is no doubt that the Broncos will use one of their early selections in the 2017 NFL Draft on a dynamic tight end.
Next year's draft might be the best at the tight end in recent memory, with standout prospects like O.J. Howard of Alabama, Jake Butt of Michigan, Evan Engram of Ole Miss, Jordan Leggett of Clemson and Bucky Hodges of Virginia Tech available to be selected.
Most preliminary draft rankings have these players set to go in the second or third rounds, but if any of them has a huge season in college football this coming year, they may vault up draft boards and merit consideration as early as the first round.
I know it is early, but don't be surprised to hear one of their names called for the Denver Broncos in the 2017 NFL Draft to bolster their tight end position and given quarterback of the future Paxton Lynch a highly-touted prospect to help aid in his development.
As always, thanks for reading and here is today's offering of Horse Tracks.
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