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John Elway hopes to find a ‘real tight end’ in middle rounds

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Don’t expect the Denver Broncos to get a tight end early, but there will be talent at tight end in the middle rounds.

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The Denver Broncos do not appear to be ready to pull the trigger on a first round tight end in this years' draft as John Elway specifically discussed what kind of tight end they are looking for during his pre-draft presser on Monday. He even noted potential talent at tight end falling to them in the third, fourth or fifth rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft.

"When we classify a tight end, the fact is you have ‘Y’ and an ‘F’. It’s a deep ‘F’ class, explained Elway. "Guys that are good routers and can move, not necessarily the strength of being an in-line tight end. There are a couple of good in-line tight ends, but for the most part they are ‘Fs’. They are more scheme fits. That is why we say it is a deep class, but what happens is if that is where it falls to us in the third, fourth, fifth round, there may be a real tight end there that we can go ahead and get. Again, it goes down to a scheme fit. When we talk about tight end, we have to classify between the ‘Y’ and the ‘F’."

It sure sounds like Elway wants to get more of the 'Y' tight end in this draft, which fits perfectly into that 3rd to 5th round area. Some guys that would fit this ‘Y’ mold would be:

  • George Kittle: Kittle has the athleticism to be a receiving mismatch at the next level though it’s his blocking that makes him a perfect fit as a No. 2 tight end capable of playing in a “move” role. He can separate from linebackers and safeties, whether attached to the formation or in the slot, and while he’ll likely never be a dominant in-line run blocker, Kittle projects as a useful matchup option in a two-tight end offense. - PFF
  • Jordan Leggett: Leggett possesses the big-game experience, level of receiving chops and playmaking that will find a home on an NFL roster. His ability to contribute toward extracurricular roles should be considered a work in progress. - PFF
  • Jake Butt: If you’re drafting Butt and expecting him to be the complete package as an NFL tight end, you’re going to be disappointed with the results. Butt has limitations as a run-blocker, both at the line of scrimmage and as he moves up to the second level. He’s not overly athletic but moves well enough and he doesn’t mess around with the ball in his hands, as soon as he catches it he turns up field and looks to squeeze out as much from every play as he can. Butt is a reliable target with a penchant for finding open space underneath the coverage, he may not make chunk yardage plays consistently at the next level, but he should have no issues helping a team move the chains. - PFF
  • Jeremy Sprinkle: Sprinkle has added the necessary bulk to play inline at the next level but, to see the field with any regularity, he will need work on his leverage to improve his blocking. He has the hands to be a threat in the passing game and significant special team experience (11 solo tackles in 2014-15 combined) that will allow him the roster time to improve his blocking mechanics. - PFF
  • Michael Roberts: Roberts may be limited athletically, but his big body and run-blocking ability have a place in the league. He knows how to use his body to create just enough of a window to move the chains and become a strong red-zone option while providing strong run-blocking at the point of attack. - PFF

Officially, middle round prospects that the Broncos have actually expressed interest in are Gerald Everett, Jordan Leggett and Bucky Hodges through various pre-draft visits or workouts. Hodges is expected to go by the early third round, so that could be the guy the Broncos hope falls a bit. Everett is a solid third round prospect and Leggett is more of a fourth or fifth round guy. Of those guys, only Leggett fits the mold of what Elway seemed to suggest was a “real tight end”.

Based on all of the pre-draft visits, really none of these guys are on the Broncos radar. Almost every visit is with the ‘F’ tight ends, so who knows what Elway is looking for. The only thing I feel certain of is that he wants a tight end somewhere in the middling rounds of this draft. The question is, who?

Poll

Who would you like to see the Broncos draft at tight end?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    O.J. Howard (trade up!)
    (151 votes)
  • 13%
    David Njoku (1st round)
    (128 votes)
  • 22%
    Evan Engram (2nd round)
    (210 votes)
  • 8%
    Gerald Everett (3rd round)
    (81 votes)
  • 22%
    Bucky Hodges (2nd-3rd round)
    (205 votes)
  • 8%
    Jordan Leggett (4th-5th round)
    (80 votes)
  • 8%
    One of the other guys listed (Share in comments)
    (75 votes)
930 votes total Vote Now