After trading down from the 75th selection, the Denver Broncos drafted UCLA Tight End Greg Dulcich with the 80th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. A zero-star recruit out of high school, Dulcich joined the Bruins as a preferred walk on because his high school head coach Jim Bonds once played quarterback at UCLA. He became an impact player the last two seasons with 68 catches for 1,242 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.
#10 TE #RAS 2022— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 13, 2022
Greg Dulcich is a TE prospect in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 8.24 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 179 out of 1010 TE from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/SdTVqjxzNG #RAS pic.twitter.com/SIcDrYzwkh
Following the Russell Wilson trade it always looked like a foregone conclusion that the Broncos would prioritize a tight end in the draft. Noah Fant is now a member of the Seattle Seahawks, which leaves Albert Okwuegbunam and his 44 career catches as the leading receiving tight end on the current roster.
The 22-year-old Dulcich stands 6’4 and weighs in at 243 lbs. and profiles as a versatile receiving tight end for the Nathaniel Hackett offense. He has the frame to log snaps as a Y and the athleticism to make hay as an H or even detach from the line and play a few reps in the slot. He’s dynamic enough to become a mismatch against the average linebacker and defensive back with the long speed to run the seams. In addition to the athletic traits, Dulcich is a reliable hands catcher who finished his career with only five drops.
The big knock on Dulcich is that he’s a “try-hard” blocker who lacks the play strength and technique to be a real asset on running plays early in his career. He’ll need to improve his use of hands or draw holding flags in the league and should not be left on an island against defensive ends. With that said, George Paton signed Eric Tomlinson to serve as the Broncos blocking tight end.
Beyond blocking, the big unknown about the Dulcich pick is if Russell Wilson will even utilize his skillset. The Broncos 5’11 quarterback does not prioritize throws to the middle of the field, and outside of the three years Jimmy Graham was a member of the Seahawks Wilson’s rarely leaned on his tight ends. Time will tell, but it’s worth noting that Graham averaged 88.8 targets a year with Wilson throwing him the ball. He finished his Seattle career with 170 receptions for 2,048 yards, and 18 touchdowns.
While Dulcich isn’t a finished product and tight ends are notoriously slow to develop, I do like this pick for the Broncos. The Bruin has the traits you look for in a receiving tight end and enters the league as a former walk on who grinded his way to a scholarship, earned his degree in 2021, and finished his career an Academic All-American. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler reported that UCLA Chip Kelly said “his work ethic is off the charts,” which bodes well for him reaching his potential.
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