The Denver Broncos have added another offensive weapon by selecting Michigan tight end Jake Butt at the top of the fifth round. Butt was considered one of the top players in a loaded tight end class before his college football season ended just early during the Orange Bowl with a knee injury that required ACL surgery – his recovery is estimated for August or September.

Butt remains a top prospect in the class and one of the most complete in-line players at the position. His promising collegiate career and the fact that he dropped in the draft exclusively because of his injury issues, could make him a great value pick at this point for Denver who’s in need of more reliable options at the tight end position.

Strengths

  • Butt’s a true in-line tight end who’s a very competent blocker. He has a good frame with good athleticism and movement skills. He’s also been a highly productive player at college football’s heights levels.
  • He has good size at 6-foot-5 and 246 pounds using that frame well to high-point catches and particularly as a blocker.
  • Butt is a sound technician he can set defenders up underneath and finds ways to get open. Has some promising skills in his ability to wiggle open and create space for himself. A potential safety blanket for Denver’s young QBs.
  • He shows potential as a receiver when lined up wide, has some pretty nice hands.
  • Has good functional athleticism. Shows promise in the receiving game where he was extremely productive. Mostly an underneath weapon but has some ability deep as well.
  • No. 88 is just a solid player all around. Has very few glaring issues. He has a very high floor as a pro, will be a contributor if he’s able to stay healthy and likely a future starter.

Weaknesses

  • Butt’s biggest concern is his injury and how quickly he’ll be able to return to full strength.
  • His route running could use some work. His cuts could be sharper, and he’ll take a long time to get open at times. He’s better at this in his 2015 tape than his 2016.
  • He’s not necessarily the most explosive particularly after the catch.
  • He’ll need to work some on blocking technique to improve and make that a true area of strength.
  • Butt’s physical and athletic upside is good, but it’s not elite. He’s a very solid prospect but not a natural miss match issue.
  • There are a few drops on tape. His hands are pretty good, but he will double catch balls at times.

How he fits

The Broncos selected one of the most talented tight ends in a great 2017 group. If he’s able to recover from the injury, he’s a solid pro who can instantly be a big contributor as a blocker and in the passing game. He has size, good athletic traits, and hands to make him a highly productive receiver at the position as he was in college.

Adding that in the early fifth round is a coup even if it comes with some injury risk. While Butt might not have the upside of some of the other highly ranked players at the position in this class, he comes in more NFL ready and still has plenty of skills to be a stand out at the position if not a star.

Denver’s finally begging to add more depth and talent on the offensive side giving their young quarterbacks more options in the passing game. This is a nice selection with great tape and immediate utility.

Born in Boulder and raised in Milan, Italy like Danilo Gallinari. Also like Gallo, I moved to the States at 18; unlike Gallo, I wasn’t drafted by the Knicks but came to attend Western State Colorado University (go Mountaineers!). I graduated in 2009 with a major in Communications and Media and two minors in Journalism and Philosophy.

After working in the linguistic field for a few years and listening to sports radio ALL DAY at work, I decided to do it myself and it changed my life around. (Now, I can say I couldn’t be happier and am proudly married to the love of my life Kate.) I moved back to Gunnison and started volunteering for the NPR affiliate up in Crested Butte, while also starting to contribute on an NFL podcast for playitusa.com. A 10 minute bit on one podcast turned into being a regular, year-round on three different podcasts on the NFL, College Football, and the NFL Draft. I’ve since started writing on trueblueblog.net and playitusa.com as well as writing in depth Draft analysis for footballnation.it in the past 3 years. I love the Draft and knowing the stars of the future before everyone else. My sports mount Rushmore is Terrell Davis, Patrick Roy, Italian soccer star Roberto Baggio, and John Elway, deal with it! Hit me up at @andresimone to talk NFL, NCAA football, NFL Draft, CSU football, Nuggets or anything else Colorado or Italy sports related.

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