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Here's Why Broncos' TE Albert Okwuegbunam Could be Expendable on Trade Market

With other tight ends have flourishing in training camp, Albert Okwuegbunam could find himself on shaky ground.

The Denver Broncos' included tight end Noah Fant in their blockbuster trade to acquire Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks earlier this year. In the wake of Fant's departure, Albert Okwuegbunam opened the offseason training program at the top of the Broncos' tight end depth chart. 

However, Denver has since signed free agent Eric Tomlinson, re-signed Eric Saubert and Andrew Beck, and drafted Greg Dulcich in the third round. All these tight end additions beg the question: does the team's depth at tight end make Okwuegbunam expendable? 

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What stands out about Okwuegbunam is his combination of size and speed. The former Missouri product's 4.49 speed and 6-foot-5, 258-pound frame make him a mismatch against linebackers and defensive backs

However, Okwuegbunam's biggest struggle is failing to break tackles. With his athleticism, he should be able to break more tackles and also make more defenders miss consistently, but that hasn’t been the case thus far. Then there's his blocking, which leaves much to be desired as well.

Saubert has emerged as a prime target for Russell Wilson throughout training camp. Saubert is not a superstar, but he's been consistent, whether blocking or catching passes. 

Dulcich has also impressed since arriving via the draft. During OTAs, Wilson spoke highly of Dulcich's work ethic and understanding of the game. The Broncos liked Dulcich enough to take him with their second selection in the draft, which means he's likely to be utilized early. 

Tomlinson was picked up to assist in the Broncos' running game and perhaps take Beck’s spot as a hybrid back, so Okwuegbunam might not be competing head-to-head with either player. The Broncos also have undrafted rookies Dylan Parham and Rodney Williams, two young, athletic pass-catchers.

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The Broncos are likely to carry four tight ends on the active roster this season. In a scenario where Okwuegbunam is traded, Dulcich, Saubert, Tomlinson, Williams, and Parham would make the team. In this scenario, Tomlinson would likely be retained over Beck because there's only room for one hybrid who can play tight end and fullback.

Bottom Line

On the heels of the Wilson trade, Denver has an underwhelming amount of draft capital in the next draft. With Saubert's emergence and the drafting of Dulcich, trading Okwuegbunam could be an wise long-term decision. 

As for compensation in an Okwuegbunam trade, the Broncos should be able to glean a fourth or fifth-round draft pick in exchange, which doesn’t sound like much, but those are the rounds where GM George Paton earns the big bucks — finding the diamonds in the rough. 

Barring Okwuegbunam making himself the unrivaled and unquestioned starter, he could be in danger of being shipped out.


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