Albert Okwuegbunam could be in a make-or-break season.
The “could be” comes from if he even gets the chance. There’s potential he’s a roster casualty given the other pieces at tight end for the Denver Broncos. And Okwuegbunam hasn’t exactly shown a lot in his short career.
If new Broncos head coach Sean Payton does decide to keep Okwuegbunam, there’s no doubt he’ll have to follow that up with the best season of his career.
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 258 pounds | Age: 25 years old
Arm Length: 34 1/4 inches | Hands: 10 1/4 inches
Albert Okwuegbunam’s 2023 outlook
The fourth-year tight end out of Missouri has struggled to get on the field. And when he does, he hasn’t exactly shown much.
In the 2022 season, Albert O only played in six games. He finished with 10 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. For his career, Okwuegbunam has 54 receptions for 546 yards and four touchdowns.
That lack of production led to Payton and the Broncos signing Chris Manhertz and Adam Trautman in the offseason. Manhertz is a completely different tight end than Okwuegbunam, he’s considered one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL, but that takes another possible roster spot from Albert O.
Trautman played two seasons with the New Orleans Saints under Payton. He has a pass-catching upside but is also viewed as a great blocker. The fact Trautman has a connection to Payton and played for him, gives him the leg up. Also, he can block, which isn’t exactly a strength of Okwuegbunam.
Add Greg Dulcich to the equation and Okwuegbunam has no room for error. Manhertz is the blocking tight end, Dulcich the athletic, play-making tight end. Where does Okwuegbunam fit into this picture?
That’s why he could be cut before he even gets the chance.
That means Okwuegbunam has to flash in training camp and show something he has yet to do in his young career. He has to jump off the page. He has to stand out in every practice and force Payton, the coaching staff and George Paton to notice. Make the decision for how many tight ends Denver keeps even harder.
Even then it might not be enough, but at least gives Okwuegbunam a puncher’s chance.
If he does make the roster, he has to carry over that performance in training camp and the preseason that got him on the roster to the regular season. When given the chance to get on the field, he has to make plays and contribute.
Okwuegbunam is in a fight to make the Broncos roster.
The tight end has to do everything right, and even then it may not be enough. But if he does that, he gives himself a chance.
Based on the three tight ends they have and what they bring to the Broncos offense, I’m not convinced Okwuegbunam will be on the roster come the regular season.
The best-case scenario may be that he flashes enough in training camp and the preseason to warrant a possible trade to get some NFL Draft capital.