Denver Broncos: Jake Butt shines in first full-pad practice


Denver Broncos tight end Jake Butt was a major storyline at OTAs, and he continues to impress as the team progresses through training camp…

On January 1, 2017, Jake Butt tore his ACL in the Orange Bowl against Florida State.

Now, over 18 months later, he’s one of the most promising young prospects on the Denver Broncos and finally back to suiting up in a fully-padded uniform.

Though Butt has been ‘healthy’ for a while now, he’s finally playing football at full speed and it didn’t occur to him until he was putting pads in his pants prior to the Broncos’ first full-pad practice on Tuesday that it had been nearly 18 months since he’d done so.

Butt got the day started off right with one of the Broncos’ first touchdowns in red zone work, catching a perfect pass from Case Keenum down the middle of the field.

Butt has been working hard since he joined the Broncos and has generated quite a bit of excitement among the fan base.

Though to a much lesser degree, the addition of Jake Butt with a healthy Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and the young receivers the Broncos brought in through the draft in Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton, feels somewhat like the Broncos’ 2013 group with Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, and Julius Thomas.

Again, to a much lesser degree, and not with the video-game version of Peyton Manning, but it’s at least a start toward offensive success.

Butt’s inclusion in the offense this season will help the Broncos in the red zone and on third downs, areas they have struggled in badly over the past few seasons.

While other teams around the league made picking up at least the occasional first down look pretty easy, the Broncos failed to execute simple offensive concepts because of their ineptitude at quarterback.

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Case Keenum seems to be doing a phenomenal job of incorporating all of the Broncos’ weapons offensively, and he’s quickly turning to the second-year tight end out of Michigan as a safety valve.

Butt’s inclusion in the offense this year can help elevate a Broncos passing attack which saw only 31 targets go to the tight end most involved, which was A.J. Derby.

Derby ended up getting cut midseason by the Broncos.

The team wasn’t able to incorporate the tight end as much as it would have liked because they just lacked the talent, or guys were hurt. If Butt is healthy, he’s going to make a huge difference.