The Denver Broncos have obviously struggled at the quarterback position since their Super Bowl 50 run. They believe the answer could be Case Keenum, after signing him to a two-year deal this offseason. However, offensive struggles for the team aren’t simply because of the quarterback play. There are numerous factors of the poor offensive play which include the offensive line and red zone woes.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) August 3, 2018
The biggest, yet most hidden, take away from the underwhelming production of the offense was at the tight end position. Denver hasn’t employed a solid, productive tight end since Julius Thomas left the team after the 2014 season.
Enter former Michigan tight end Jake Butt. Butt was selected by the Broncos in the 5th round in the 2017 NFL Draft, but couldn’t play last season and was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list. He landed on the list because of a torn ACL during his senior season with the Wolverines.
After fully healthy for offseason, Butt is ready for action and is participating in the team’s programs. The 6’6”, 250 pound sophomore is ready to make his debut this season and will join a tight end cast that will most likely feature Jeff Heuerman as the other option.
During his time at Michigan, he compiled 1,646 yards with an average 11.63 yard per catch and 11 touchdowns. His longest catch went for 56 yards in his junior season at the school. Butt consistently produced more throughout his collegiate career, which is a good sign for Denver. The Broncos could benefit vastly if his production stays on the upward trend.
Last season, Denver’s tight ends combined for 53 catches for 591 yards and only scored twice. To put this in perspective, New England’s Rob Gronkowski caught the ball 69 times for 1,084 yards and scored eight times in 14 games.
So it is crucial that Denver can produce at the tight end spot this season and that Butt can develop into the safety blanket that Keenum needs. Fortunately for the team, Butt has a surprise element going into the season and has limited professional scouting reports on him.