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2017 Broncos roster: Tight end Jeff Heuerman

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After spending his first two seasons injured or learning, Jeff Heuerman’s time is now.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Jeff Heuerman
Position: TE
Height: 6’6" Weight: 255 lbs
Age: 24 Experience: 3rd
College: Ohio State

The Denver Broncos have been searching for a vertical pass catching tight end ever since Julius Thomas left in free agency. They drafted Jeff Heuerman to be that guy, but Heuerman has struggled to stay healthy through his first two seasons and has not developed into that vertical threat the Broncos hoped he would become.

Instead, they brought in A.J. Derby and then drafted Jake Butt to hedge their bets that someone on this roster would emerge in 2017 as the pass catching tight end they’ve been looking for. So far, it appears that guy might actually be Heuerman after all.

The Good

During OTA’s, no tight end has been mentioned in more big plays for the offense in the passing game than Heuerman. I went back through all of Andrew Mason’s OTA reports to share the good things Heuerman has been doing for the offense in practice.

Day 1

Siemian's next pass, in a seven-on-seven period, saw him thread the needle on a pass to tight end Jeff Heuerman that beat two defenders.

Day 6

Cornerback Lorenzo Doss made an athletic play to prevent a touchdown, lunging to break up what would have been a 35-yard score from Lynch to tight end Jeff Heuerman during a team period.

Day 7

With the pass rush bearing down on him, Siemian kept his eyes downfield, stepped up in the pocket and fired a strike to TE Jeff Heuerman down the seam, who ran the final few yards into the end zone for a touchdown.

Day 8

One day after Siemian hit him for a long touchdown down the seam, the two collaborated once again, as Siemian hit Heuerman 15 yards upfield during a team period Tuesday. On each of those passes, Siemian led Heuerman perfectly, giving the third-year tight end an opportunity for yardage after the catch.

Day 9

The No. 2 offense had more success, but ultimately fell short. Lynch guided the offense to the defense's 16-yard line via a 14-yard pass to TE Jeff Heuerman, an 8-yard scramble and a 13-yard strike to WR Cody Latimer. But on a last-gasp play with six seconds on the clock, Lynch's end-zone attempt was tipped by S Dymonte Thomas into the hands of CB Brendan Langley, who secured the last-second interception.

Day 1 - Mandatory Minicamp

Lynch then guided the No. 2 offense to a touchdown. A deep pass up the right sideline to TE Jeff Heuerman moved the offense into field-goal range.

Heuerman is finding chemistry with both quarterbacks during OTAs, which is going to set him apart from his peers at the position once a starting quarterback is selected in August.

He is, so far, looking like the best pass catching tight end on the roster.

The Bad

Injury history. There has been only one thing derailing Heuerman year after year and that has been his inability to stay healthy. This season will be his most important. As a guy who appears to be the front-runner to win the most playing time at tight end on passing downs, this is his golden opportunity to make his NFL career.

Quotable

Heuerman is excited about this new offense and is excited about having a chance to compete healthy for the first time in his NFL career.

“Having knee surgery your rookie year, then coming back last year and being banged up, obviously, there is a lot that I need to get out there and want to show. It’s going to be a good year. This offense is fun. It allows guys to play football. I’m just excited about that.”

Status

I think Heuerman is the Broncos best option at tight end. He was their best option last year too. The problem is always injuries. If he can avoid serious injury, Heuerman could have a breakout season for the Broncos under the Mike McCoy offense.

He has developed chemistry with both Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, so it really does come down to health. The Broncos offense will need him on the field.

Poll

If the Broncos keep 4 tight ends, do you see Henry Krieger-Coble making the 53-man in 2017?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Yes
    (1176 votes)
  • 26%
    No
    (417 votes)
1593 votes total Vote Now