Sean Payton hypes up potential breakout Broncos tight end at OTAs

It might be time to buy Lucas Krull stock
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

If you're looking for someone to project as the Denver Broncos' biggest potential breakout player candidate in 2024, you might not have to look much further than tight end Lucas Krull. Krull is at the crossroads of ability and opportunity right now with the Denver Broncos not really doing much of anything to add to the tight end position this offseason.

Perhaps now we know why that was the case.

Head coach Sean Payton was asked about a "coaching" moment that was witnessed between he and Krull when the media was allowed to watch OTAs on May 23, and Payton was happy to elaborate.

"Man, I thought he’s had a good week, and I said, ‘You know, if you didn’t notice, everyone in the media was looking down at their rosters to see who ’85’ was. And I said, ‘Someday soon they’re gonna know who ’85’ is. He’s looking sharp."

Sean Payton

It's about as effusive of praise as you will ever see when it comes to coaches talking about players at OTAs. Payton has clearly been excited about Lucas Krull for a really long time as the Broncos "secretly" started creating a package of plays for him last year, which we ultimately saw come to fruition when Krull was targeted in his Broncos debut against the Buffalo Bills in Week 10 of last season.

The Broncos tried more and more as the season progressed to get Krull involved in the offense with his athletic ability and physicality in the open field. He wound up catching eight passes for 95 yards and had a touchdown in the Broncos' narrow loss to the New England Patriots on Christmas Eve.

I said it earlier, but Krull is at sort of the perfect juncture of ability and opportunity. Adam Trautman is the incumbent TE1 for the Denver Broncos, but he doesn't have nearly the athletic traits or pass-catching upside as someone like Krull. The oft-injured Greg Dulcich is still limited as he works his way back to the field.

Ironically, Krull is someone that Sean Payton stole away from the New Orleans Saints last offseason, but he's also someone Payton wasn't around to discover with the Saints. Krull was added by New Orleans in the 2022 offseason and led all tight ends in the 2023 preseason in receiving yards. The Broncos brought him in after trading Albert Okwuegbunam to the Philadelphia Eagles, and although there's been a bit of delayed gratification, the wait might be worth it.