After tearing his ACL in his final college game at Michigan in January 2017, Jake Butt missed his entire rookie season but is now fully recovered. Without the injury, he would have been selected much earlier in the draft (fifth round), as Butt had a stellar career with the Wolverines, snagging 97 passes for 1,200 yards and seven TDs during his final two seasons. He is a proficient route runner with good size—6-foot-6 and 250 pounds. Throughout the preseason there will be a competition for the starting Broncos TE between Butt and Jeff Heuerman, however, Butt is faster, more athletic and a has better hands. While neither player is known for his blocking ability, the edge goes to Butt as well.
The TE spot has been nearly invisible for Denver the past couple seasons and this will be Butt’s first professional campaign, so you can expect to see some rookie mistakes. While the coaching staff has been impressed with what they’ve seen so far, expectations should be tempered for Butt in the slightly re-tooled offense.
2018 Bottom Line
Butt is a dynamic player and the type of TE that defensive coordinators have to game plan for. He will keep defenses more honest, forcing secondary players to ease up on their ideas of double-teaming WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, which should help all the Broncos pass-catchers. While he’s not worthy of a fantasy draft selection, if Butt turns into the reliable weapon he was in college, he could be worth picking up via the waiver wire later in the season.