3 Denver Broncos offensive players causing concern early in 2022

Denver Broncos, Melvin Gordon (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, Melvin Gordon (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos, Albert Okwuegbunam – Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Broncos concerning player no. 2: Albert Okwuegbunam, TE

In the early goings of the 2022 NFL season, it doesn’t look like Denver Broncos tight end Albert Okwuegbunam has what it takes to be a true TE1 in the NFL. That’s a harsh critique just three games in, but Okwuegbunam has given the Broncos next-to-nothing so far in three games, including as a blocker in the running game.

Okwuegbunam has just six receptions in the first three games, which wouldn’t be so bad if he had maybe a touchdown or a big play (or two) among them. Unfortunately, he’s been limited after the catch, and his issue with drops seems to be bleeding over into this season after Pro Football Reference credited him with two drops last year.

The Broncos have taken Okwuegbunam off the field completely for running plays, perhaps something Demeco Ryans exploited in scheming against Nathaniel Hackett and the Denver offense in Week 3. If the Broncos literally can’t run the ball when Okwuegbunam is on the field, that’s a major issue. He’s not giving them enough in the passing game to justify taking up space out there and giving away what the play call is going to be, at least in terms of run or pass.

Keep in mind, the Broncos were playing Okwuegbunam deep into their first two preseason games because he needed reps. That was shocking for a team that skipped out on signing a veteran tight end in a deep free agent crop (aside from Eric Tomlinson). The Broncos could have gone after someone like Tyler Conklin, CJ Uzomah, or even Gerald Everett. Those may not be the best blocking tight ends in the game, but they offer more in the passing game.

Greg Dulcich is eligible to come back off of injured reserve in Week 5, and that can’t come soon enough.