The Denver Broncos may have struck gold when they selected former Michigan tight end Jake Butt in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
As a refresher, Butt was widely viewed as a first-round talent during his final collegiate season. After all, he did win the 2016 John Mackey award, given annually to college football’s best tight end, and he was twice named a first-team All-American performer.
In his final game for the Wolverines, the 2016 Orange Bowl, Butt tore his right ACL. It was the second torn ACL of his career, and it caused the 22-year-old’s draft stock to tumble.
Butt is now on the verge of making his practice debut for the Broncos (he is slated to start practicing with the team next Monday), and Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy can hardly wait.
“You wish every rookie had his mindset. Everybody’s different, but he’s different,” McCoy said on Thursday. “The way he works and the way he prepares, I can’t wait for him to get out here. We understood when we drafted him it was going to take some time for him to get out here. He lives here. He’s here all the time watching film and doing extra things with [Tight Ends Coach] Geep [Chryst] up in the meeting rooms and asking questions all the time. You can see him in the meetings taking notes. You see the way he’s worked with our medical staff, and he’s here all the time. You just love the way he works.”
Butt will have spent the first six weeks (five games for the Broncos) on Denver’s Non-Football Injury (NFI) list. Because of this, the Broncos will have 21 days from his first practice to either add Butt to their active roster, or decide to keep him on the NFI list. From the sounds of it, the Broncos are expecting the rookie tight end to contribute in 2017.
“Only time will tell,” McCoy said when asked about Butt’s potential role in the Broncos’ offense. “We’re fortunate to have him. We have a talented group of players in the skills spot on offense right now. We’ll find a role for him once he gets out there and gets cleared to play. We’re looking forward to getting back on the field and getting him into practice first. Start going through some things and that’s going to be the next phase and he’ll be OK. On paper, it’s easy to say all the recalls, plays and all that stuff – what you’re supposed to do. All of a sudden the picture starts changing in a hurry or you have Von Miller over you. Now what do I have to do and there’s certain things or there’s going to be audibles at the line of scrimmage. The games going to be a lot faster for him and he hasn’t taken a snap just yet. We’ll find a role for him when he’s healthy and he’s ready to go.”
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