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Albert Okwuegbunam 'Didn't Think Too Much' of Broncos Drafting TE Greg Dulcich

Focused on 'that No. 1 spot.'

For the first time since it happened, Denver Broncos tight end Albert Okwuegbunam publicly addressed the team's decision to spend a third-round draft pick on UCLA TE Greg Dulcich, muddying an already opaque room.

To which he shrugged his shoulders.

“I didn’t think too much of it," Okwuegbunam said Thursday. "I’m still just focusing and approaching it as being ready to step into that No. 1 spot and do the best to my ability and approach every day the same.”

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A former fourth-round choice, Okwuegbunam enters his third NFL season tentatively entrenched atop the depth chart, replacing Noah Fant, who was sent to Seattle in the Russell Wilson trade. More pass-catcher than run-blocker, the Missouri product has caught 44 passes for 451 yards and three touchdowns across 18 career appearances, including six starts in 2021.

"Obviously, that opens up a big opportunity for me," Okwuegbunam said of Fant's departure. "I’ve just been focusing on that and approaching every day with that opportunity and having that competitiveness. Overall, just trying to be the best tight end that I can be and compete for that No. 1 role.”

Emphasis on "tentatively," however, as Dulcich's sheer arrival — replete with Travis Kelce comparisons — handcuffs Okwuegbunam's floor and calls into question his ceiling. New Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett has no loyalty to Okweugbunam, whereas Hackett helped personally hand-select the well-rounded Dulcich and his viral mane.

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“Have you seen his hair? I mean, wow!" Hackett gushed on May 13. "Just watching him out here, it’s flowing in the wind. No—it was great to see him out here and run routes. He can really run. He’s in great shape, you can see that. Even being over here with some of the blocking drills, you can see that he’s definitely a willing blocker. So I think it’s kind of that all-purpose guy. I think that’s something that’s going to be very valuable to us.”

Okwuegbunam is the conductor of his own hype train that he hopes to get, and stay, on track. Despite 4.49 speed and veritable seam-stretching ability, at 6-foot-5 and 258 pounds, his ascension to relevancy has been snake-bitten by drops, poor QB play, worse coaching, and a torn ACL suffered as a rookie.

Now the 24-year-old must contend with Hackett's pet project while clawing his way up the proverbial totem pole, dwarfed by Denver's stacked wide receiver corps. That aforementioned train is headed in the wrong direction — to derailment.

All Okwuegbunam can control is what he can control. All he can do is what he's doing.

Work, campaign. Rinse, repeat.

"After the injury [while you’re] rehabbing, you’re telling yourself that you’re 100 percent. I felt pretty good, but this offseason, I feel way different," Okwuegbunam said. "I feel more explosive and I’m faster. Definitely feel better than last year.”

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