As the Denver Broncos 2019 1st round draft selection (20th overall), tight end Noah Fant is expected to be a dynamic, offensive weapon.
But if you’re a 2018 5th round draft selection (156th overall), the expectation is to compete for a job. Troy Fumagalli was drafted by the Broncos after having surgery to repair a sports hernia. His recovery kept him out of rookie minicamp and OTAs. Fumagalli returned to practice for 1 week during the 2018 training camp, before re-aggravating his prior injury. The Broncos consequently placed him on injured reserve.
In a recent article, Fumagalli revealed “he used the past year to become a film junkie and learn how pro players think and react in addition to relentless physical rehabilitation under strength coach Loren Landow.”
Catching passes from former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco would be impressive enough on its own. But for Fumagalli, he is catching footballs without a finger on his left hand. He lost a finger on his left hand as a result from a birth defect. He has hardly let the loss of a finger stop him from pitching (left handed) in high school baseball, and walking on his collegiate football team (Wisconsin).
The pressure in the tight ends room has intensified. Prior to the 2019 NFL Draft, the Broncos agreed to a contract extension with 5th year tight end Jeff Heuerman. Expectations are also high for 2017 5th round draft pick (145th overall) Jake Butt, who is recovering from an ACL tear that occurred in his last college football game.
In a crowded position, reps are valuable. So when opportunities in OTA’s presented themselves, Fumagalli took advantage of them.
When asked about the tight ends following an OTA practice, Head Coach Vic Fangio said, “Good. I think all the tight ends have done well and I think Troy has surpassed some of our expectations already—that’s without pads on. We’ll see when the pads come on, but I think he’s doing well overall.”
With momentum heading into minicamp, Troy Fumagalli must continue to demonstrate work ethic and attention to detail.