The always excellent Andrew Mason, recently offered a few observations from OTAs. The one that intrigued me the most was his statement regarding tight end, Virgil Green, and his involvement in the offense.
“Last year at this time, we saw Julius Thomas emerge as a potential, frequent target of Manning. This year, he’s looked toward Virgil Green on a regular basis. Green caught Manning’s pass in the first seven-on-seven period of the day — after catching multiple passes from Manning last Wednesday — and would have had a touchdown catch Monday if not for a leaping deflection by cornerback Aqib Talib.”
Green is a member of John Elway’s maiden draft class of 2011, which included stalwarts like Von Miller, Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, Nate Irving, Julius Thomas and Quinton Carter. Green was drafted in the 7th round out of the University of Nevada.
In his time as a Denver Bronco, he’s primarily seen playing time in jumbo packages and some 12 personnel, along with Special Teams. In 2013, he saw a career high 323 snaps on offense. He increasingly became more involved in the offense as the season went on. How could we ever forget Green’s rushing attempt, which gained 7 yards, vs the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game?
Green is a special athlete. He’s an exceptional blocker and as such, the Broncos have utilized his skills to the utmost. But he’s also a very underrated receiver. Check out this quote from his NFL.com scouting report.
“Green has great speed for a tight end. Explodes off the line and out of his breaks to gain separation. Has excellent hands. Plucks and snatches away from his frame and secures the football without losing speed. Can get up the seam and make the over-the-shoulder grab. Flashes potential as a second-level blocker. Outstanding intangibles.”
At the NFL Combine, he ran a 4.64 40. He also threw up 23 reps on the bench press (225lbs). There’s no question that Green was a developmental pick when the Broncos selected him. And it’s taken some time for him to hone all the different elements of his craft. Now it’s sounding like he’s turned the corner as a complete tight end and is well on his way to building strong rapport with Peyton Manning.
I’d love to see Green and Julius Thomas utilized as a tandem in 12 personnel. Green can set the edge in the run game, which is an area that Thomas must improve in. But Green can also slip out in passing situations and make plays down the field.
He simply brings more to the table, with his combination of speed, strength, hands, and athleticism than guys like Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen. Working with a future Hall of Famer, like Peyton Manning, there’s no telling how high his ceiling could be. Just ask Julius Thomas.
It’s hard to speculate on what this means for recently converted tight end, Gerrell Robinson. However, if anyone should be worried, it’s likely Joel Dreessen. With a $3.5M cap number in 2014, and his recent inability to stay healhty, Dreessen is a prime candidate to find himself on the outside looking in, especially with 2 young studs in Virgil Green and Gerrell Robinson, who have way more upside, breathing down his neck.
Are you excited about the prospect of Virgil Green being more involved in the offense? Tell us in the comments!