It's that time of the year again. Mile High Report begins our annual 90 players in 90 days roster breakdown. Last year went fairly well, but now through August, we'll break down every player on the Denver Broncos roster.
Name: Jeff Heuerman
Position: Tight End
Height: 6'5" Weight: 255
Age: 23 Experience: 2
College: Ohio State
Tight end Jeff Heuerman was a third round pick by the Denver Broncos in 2015, but tore is ACL during rookie mini camps. The injury forced him to sit and learn for an entire season, which kind of makes him a rookie still.
His Broncos training camp started out a bit rough, but he has come on strong enough to be considered co-starter along with Virgil Green in the teams first depth chart of 2016.
Heuerman is a big, strong pass-catching tight end, which is exactly what the Gary Kubiak offense needs to be successful. The Broncos have big plans for him in 2016.
"We’re counting on him big time." said Head Coach Gary Kubiak said back in March. "You look at us releasing ‘O.D.’ and you never know what can happen there down the road—but when Jeff came in he was very impressive. We feel like Jeff can be a total tight end. He’s not just a receiver. We think he has the ability to do both catch and block. He’s a very confident young man and he comes from a winning program. We are counting on him a great deal along with Virgil Green. It’s a big offseason for him and he’s worked really hard. He’s really been ready to go probably since a few months ago."
When healthy, Heuerman can do all sorts of things on the field from stretching the field down the seam as a vertical threat or solid ball control on off-target throws. The latter could become important considering the Broncos current quarterback conundrum.
He is coming off an ACL injury. In today’s age, that doesn’t often mean much, but it is still a concern until he proves he can do everything he could do before the injury.
Additionally, he wasn’t considered a very strong run or pass blocker coming out of college and lacks functional core strength. His route running was considered a bit sloppy as well. He has had an entire year to study these things, so hopefully he is improved in these areas.
In regards to the core strength concerns out of college, Heuerman did spend a lot of time in the weight room while recovering from his knee injury.
"I would just work out while they were at practice, and then go to meetings before practice, and go to meetings after practice, and travel to all the games, so I kind of got the feel for that," Heuerman said.
His teammates took notice of the effort.
"He looks good," said Virgil Green. "He's running [well], catching balls and [is] a strong guy in the weight room. He's definitely moving a lot of weight around."
Heuerman is a lock to make the final 53-man roster. The Broncos have invested a lot into their third-round pick and he has, in turn, invested a lot into himself to be the player the Broncos need him to be.
That effort on both sides is starting to pay off as Heuerman is now 1b to Virgil Green’s 1a on the depth chart heading into the first preseason game against the Chicago Bears. These two tight ends could be the 1-2 punch the Broncos were kind of lacking last season from the tight end position.