For a team with a former seventh-round draft pick starting at quarterback (Trevor Siemian) a former undrafted player who is a Pro Bowl player at cornerback (Chris Harris Jr.) and a sixth-rounder starting at center (Matt Paradis), the fact that the Denver Broncos sent a fifth-round pick during the season to an AFC rival to get A.J. Derby says it all.
It says the Broncos had a need big enough that they didn’t want to wait until next year to fill it. Which is why Derby was a New England backup one day, and a Broncos tight end poised for playing time the next.
"I’m definitely lucky there, both teams, New England and Denver, have Super Bowl experience," Derby said. "I can’t complain there at all. You obviously know the success they’ve had in New England, and to then come to a team that won the Super Bowl (to close out 2015 season), so I was surprised when they said 'you’re traded,' but at the same time, when they tell you Denver, just excited for the opportunity."
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Derby's playing time has reflected his work. He was inactive for the Broncos' Oct. 30 game against the Chargers, played five plays in the Broncos’ loss to the Raiders the next week, and was on the field for 44 plays in the Broncos' win this past Sunday in New Orleans. Derby finished the game with two catches for 22 yards, and flashed the speed the Broncos traded to acquire. He's probably hard to trust in lineups right now, but seems as if he's trending up and may be poised for a break out game.