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2019 Broncos roster review: Tight end Jake Butt

The Denver Broncos have a talented tight end in Jake Butt, but injuries have so far derailed his short career. Hopefully, we’ll get to see what he can do in 2019.

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

When the Denver Broncos drafted tight end Jake Butt in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, many felt he was going to be the steal of that draft. Butt was considered a Day 2 pick, but an ACL injury in his final college game caused his draft stock to plummet.

Jake Butt Profile

Height: 6-6 | Weight: 250 pounds | Age: 23

College: Michigan | Experience: Third Season

Instead of being a steal, however, Butt has continued to struggle to stay healthy and is even now trying to come back from his third ACL injury. He tore it the first time in his freshman season, before tearing it again in his senior season and again early last season.

The good

When he was healthy, Butt had a role on the team with Case Keenum at quarterback. In those first three games, he snagged eight receptions for 85 yards. The talent was always there, but the injury issues are definitely a growing concern as he enters his third NFL season.

Coming out of college, Butt was seen as a crisp route runner who could pick up those chain-moving receptions. He may not ever be the flashy down-the-field big play kind of tight end, but he’d pick up that third and five or third and eight when called upon.

If he can put together a full healthy season, he might be the second most talented tight end on the roster behind rookie Noah Fant. However, until he can go out there and prove that projection we put on him, the Broncos are better suited to keep Jeff Heuerman or Troy Fumagalli around as more reliable options at the position.

The bad

Injuries. There really isn’t much else to say about that, since we haven’t seen enough of Butt on the field to really dive into any negatives.

This will be the most important comeback of his career and so far, he believes he will be ready to compete when Broncos training camp arrives.

“I haven’t had any setbacks, so that’s been great -- it’s been a steady climb,” Butt said. “It’s obviously a long process, but I feel really close. At this point, it’s (about) getting back into football shape and to where I feel good every day.”


During OTA’s in May, head coach Vic Fangio noted that the team hopes to have Butt back at full strength by training camp.

“He’ll continue on the track that you saw him on today for the most part,” Fangio said. “Hopefully we’ll have him ready by training camp.”

Jake Butt highlights

Since Butt hasn’t been able to stay healthy since coming into the NFL in 2017, we only have highlights from his final collegiate season.

Jake Butt’s roster status with the Broncos

I think Butt’s roster status in 2019 is in serious doubt. He has played in just three games since being drafted in 2017 and under a new coaching staff he has to earn everything now. The good news for Butt is that he is on track with his ACL recover to be a full go for training camp and will have every opportunity to show Fangio and the offensive coaching staff that he has what it takes to have a role on this offense.

I’ve personally always like his potential as a player and would love to see him put together a full health season and show us all that he can play like we all thought he could coming out of college.