The Denver Broncos took on a significant risk when they selected former Michigan tight end Jake Butt in the fifth-round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The decision could end up paying massive dividends for the Broncos in the weeks to come, however.
Butt, a two-time college All-American and the 2016 John Mackey award (best college tight end) winner, was being touted as a potential first-round pick during his final season with the Wolverines, but disaster struck during his final game as an amateur athlete, the 2016-17 Orange Bowl.
Butt, tore his ACL while playing against the Florida State Seminoles. It was the second time he suffered a torn ACL, but the ramifications were much more serious the second time around as the injury prevented him from performing any pre-draft workouts.
After a lengthy rehabilitation process, Butt was cleared last week to start practicing with the Broncos this week. He is technically eligible to be activated from the Non-Football Injury (NFI) list and play this weekend against the Los Angeles Chargers, but that won’t be the case.
Denver head coach Vance Joseph confirmed on Thursday afternoon, that Butt’s NFL debut won’t come until Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs at the earliest.
“Yes, absolutely,” Joseph said when asked if Butt is unlikely to play this week He hasn’t played enough football to play an NFL game. Hopefully he continues to get in football shape and he can play next week or the week after.”
When Butt does return, he has the potential to add a dimension to the Broncos’ offense that has been missing for several years.
“We’re not sure, but we drafted Jake because he was a playmaker,” Joseph explained when asked about Butt’s role in Denver’s offense. “He was a blocker also and that’s rare to find a young tight end who can block and catch balls. He’s a big target, he can run vertically and he has great ball skills. That’s what he was in college. He hasn’t played enough for us to know what he is now.”
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