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Jake Butt eager to prove he can be Broncos’ No. 1 tight end

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After missing all of his rookie season recovering from a torn ACL suffered in his final collegiate game, Jake Butt is finally healthy and ready to prove he can be the No. 1 tight end for the Denver Broncos.

NFL: Denver Broncos Rookie Minicamp Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a long wait for tight end Jake Butt, but now that wait is over. And if all goes according to plan, the Denver Broncos will have themselves the long-term option at tight end they have been searching for all these years.

Many draft analysts had Butt pegged as an early Day 2 selection, but a torn ACL suffered in the Orange Bowl caused him to tumble to the fifth-round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He spent all of last season recovering from the injury and claims he feels the best he ever has in his entire football career. Not only did his redshirt season allow him to get healthy, it provided him with the opportunity to get acclimated with the team’s playbook and go through the mental motions of what it takes to be a professional player.

Now, nearly a year and a half after his devastating injury, Butt is finally healthy and excited to be back on the field competing.

“It feels great. I’ve missed the game for sure. I’m happy to be out here working this weekend with the rookies,” stated Butt during the Broncos’ rookie mini camp this past weekend. “It’s another opportunity to play football, and when you’ve been away from it for so long you really can’t take these opportunities for granted.”

Thought it isn’t just any opportunity the former Michigan Wolverine is looking to take advantage of. After an extended hiatus, he has set his goals as high as they can go — he wants to be the guy the team can count on every single snap for the coming season. That number one tight end who can make the clutch catch on third down to extend the drive or secure that game-winning touchdown reception to help propel the team one spot closer to a division title. That is exactly what the team needs, because they haven’t had a tight end like that to rely on over the past few years.

Avid college football fans know that’s something Butt can do. He has been that guy before, just as he was at the University of Michigan where he earned two time first-team All-American and All-Big Ten selections, as well as the winner of the highly-coveted Ozzie Newsome, John Mackey and Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year awards. Based on his past track record of success, Butt’s confidence is certainly merited and he knows that’s something he has to have in order to achieve his goals and make it in this league.

“You have to have that kind of confidence, and I think we all do in the tight end room. You’ve got to have a confidence to play in this league. That’s my goal, that’s everyone else’s goal, and that’s what’s going to make us better. That we’re all going to be competing for that No. 1 spot.”

Ever since Julius Thomas departed in free agency several seasons ago, the Broncos have lacked productivity at the tight end position. In fact, their tight ends over that time frame have been some of the least productive in the entire league. It’s no coincidence that the franchise has opted to go to the draft well to select a highly-touted prospect from the collegiate ranks the past few years. Three years ago it was Ohio State product Jeff Heuerman, two years ago it was Butt and most recently, Wisconsin’s Troy Fumagalli — all former Big Ten products — which could be the actual coincidence at hand.

Here is to hoping that one of them end up producing in a big fashion for the Broncos in 2018.

Poll

Which tight end will have the biggest impact for the Denver Broncos in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    Jake Butt
    (1367 votes)
  • 4%
    Jeff Heuerman
    (65 votes)
  • 6%
    Troy Fumagalli
    (93 votes)
1525 votes total Vote Now