Denver Broncos: How does team view Albert Okwuegbunam entering year two?

Denver Broncos tight end Albert Okwuegbunam. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos tight end Albert Okwuegbunam. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Denver Broncos second-year tight end Albert Okwuegbunam is a player who could really become a big piece of the team’s plans in 2021.

Looking at the Broncos’ tight end depth chart, a pair of things are automatically clear. Either the Broncos are quite confident in the young Albert Okwuegbunam or the tight end market is just not at all appealing to the team right now.

The Broncos seem to have a budding star in Noah Fant, but there is nothing proven behind him.

Aside from Okwuegbunam, the other tight ends on the roster are Eric Saubert, Shaun Beyer, and Austin Fort. Two of those guys were undrafted and the other, Saubert, is playing for his sixth NFL team.

The Broncos know what they have in Fant, but every team needs depth at every position, and the Broncos hope that Okwuegbunam can be a huge factor this season.

Though his rookie statistics don’t reflect it, Okwuegbunam showed signs last season of being an excellent option for the team down the road. He caught just 11 passes, but he showed quickness good hands, and great chemistry with Drew Lock, his former college teammate.

Unfortunately, a torn ACL in November shut his season down prematurely.

This brings up another question. Are the Broncos confident that Okwuegbunam will be able to bounce back and be ready to go from that injury early in the season? Will he be the same player the team saw when it drafted him in last year’s fourth round?

Though this year’s free-agent market at tight end was shallow to begin with, veterans such as Trey Burton, Tyler Eifert and former Bronco Virgil Green remain available. The tight end spot is arguably the weakest on the Denver roster at this moment, but how Okwuegbunam performs could change all of that.

If the second-year player out of Missouri can be an able-bodied, big-play complement to Fant, then the Broncos will have a great one-two punch. That said, there are enough questions surrounding him to make one leery of the depth the team has at the position.

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It stands to reason that the Broncos not only feel that Okwuegbunam will bounce back from the ACL injury, but also be quite effective on the field in the process.