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Broncos tight end breakout candidates

With Noah Fant leaving to Seattle in the historic Russell Wilson trade which tight end will breakout into the starting role?

Broncos hold early season practice session at Dove Valley Photo by Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

On March 16, the NFL world turned their heads toward Denver and Seattle when the Broncos traded for superstar quarterback Russell Wilson; one of the players who the Broncos traded was starting tight end, Noah Fant. His departure from the Broncos left a hole in the tight end position.

At the time, the Broncos’ backup tight end was 2020 fourth-round pick Albert Okwuegbunam. After trading Fant, the Denver Broncos looked toward the 2022 NFL draft to help the tight end position, where they picked UCLA product Greg Dulcich in the third round.

Both Okwuegbunam and Dulcich are on rookie deals, and are both primed for breakout seasons but which one will be named the starter and breakout in the Broncos’ offense?

Albert Okwuegbunam

Okuegbunam has played 14 games for the Broncos and has racked up 44 catches for 451 yards and three touchdowns.

Okwuegbunam is very fast for his 6-foot-5 frame, he ran a 4.49 40-yard dash at the 2020 NFL combine. NFL analyst Lance Zierlein said this while scouting Okwuegbunam for the 2020 NFL draft, “Okwuegbunam will force evaluators into deciding priorities as his pros and cons list is fairly polarizing. His routes are raw and inefficient. He isn’t difficult to cover when he’s asked to gather and break, but he has the speed to separate on over routes and seam attacks when he opens and goes... He’s not a physical blocker and is better suited as a move tight end. Scouts question his overall toughness as a player, but the potential is very high, which makes him a classic boom-or-bust prospect.”

Comparing Okwuegbunam to what head coach Nathaniel Hackett and offensive coordinator Justin Outten had in Green Bay, Robert Tonyan who is a very talented pass catcher himself so we can see the similarities in that way.

Greg Dulcich

Dulcich is not the greatest blocker by any means but is a talented pass catcher. Dulcich, though, has shown a good demeanor to get better as a blocker, though, so in the long term, Dulcich could improve. He is also a lot faster than he looks he ran a 4.69 40-yard dash while in college and averaged 17.6 yards per catch while with the Bruins.

Dulcich is also pretty strong as well, he had two fewer reps on the bench than one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL, George Kittle, 18 versus 16 reps.

Although Dulcich has not played an NFL snap yet, I am very excited to see how he does during training camp and the season. Also, right now, I believe Dulcich is a pretty close player to Tonyan they have a lot of similar traits.

Final thoughts

Although a very close race, I have to give the slight edge in favor of Okwuegbunam. I think he will be the starter to begin the 2022 NFL season, but if Dulcich has a good performance during training camp, I would love to see him start and play. Long term, though, I do think Dulcich is our guy. He is just as good a pass-catcher as Okwuegbanum and has shown that he can learn to get better as a blocker while being tougher than Albert O in the run game.


Who has a breakout season first?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Albert Okwuegbunam
    (167 votes)
  • 46%
    Greg Dulcich
    (174 votes)
  • 8%
    (31 votes)
372 votes total Vote Now