Jake Butt

Do or Die for Broncos’ Jake Butt

  • 2020 NFL Training Camp
  • ACL
  • Albert Okwuegbunam
  • Andrew beck
  • Denver Broncos
  • Drew Lock
  • Jake Butt
  • Michigan
  • NFL
  • Nick Vannett
  • Noah Fant
  • tight end
  • Troy Fumagalli
  • Vic Fangio
By Andy Martinez September 2, 2020 0 Comment
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For the first time since being drafted by the Broncos, Jake Butt finally seems healthy and ready to play. The young tight end has been turning heads in Denver, but it may be too late.

TAKING A CHANCE

Once upon a time, Jake Butt was considered one of the most talented tight end prospects coming out of college. His four-year career at Michigan consisted of 138 catches yards for 1,646 and 11 touchdowns. In his final season, he earned All-American honors and took home the prestigious John Mackey award as the best tight end in the nation.

Unfortunately, Butt’s seemingly perfect senior season took a turn for the worst. In the final game of his collegiate career, he suffered a torn ACL in his right leg. The injury put NFL scouts on notice and Butt’s draft stock quickly began plummeting.

After falling into the 5th Round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos took a chance on Jake Butt and selected him with the 145th overall pick. Even with his injury, the Broncos felt Butt had plenty to offer to a team longing for a playmaker at the tight end position.

RUNNING OUT OF TIME

Flash forward a few years, Jake Butt is now entering his 4th season with the Broncos but has very little to show for it.

After redshirting his rookie year, he focused on rehabilitating his injury. Following a strong offseason going into year two, he earned his rightful place as a starter for the team. But after just three games, Butt suffered yet another ACL injury, this time around, his left leg. This major setback would keep him off the field for the rest of the season.

Butt would return in 2019 for some preseason action, only to find himself battling injuries for the third consecutive year. Although he was cleared to play later in the season, given his medical history, the Broncos felt it was best to sit him out for the remainder of the season.

“I WANTED TO QUIT”

During his recovery, Jake Butt began feeling the pressure to bounce back weigh heavy on his shoulders. After suffering three ACL injuries, he talked about feeling stranded in a dark place, questioning his road to recovery, and possibly walking away from the game for good:

“I wanted to quit. There were a lot of days that I wanted to quit. There were a lot of days that I was really down on myself, questioning why I’m even doing this kind of thing.”

However, Butt managed to push through his hardships with never-ending support from family, friends, and team members down in Denver. Quarterback Drew Lock shared some thoughts with the media on his fellow teammate:

“There’s nobody in our locker room that doesn’t want to see Jake Butt succeed. One of the best teammates that we have in this locker room. For him to push and grind through all the injuries he’s had. The guy is playing some really good ball. He’s super smart and more athletic than people give him credit for.”

Butt even earned some praise from the man that hardly gives any, head coach Vic Fangio:

“I think Jake is way ahead of where he was last year at this time. To quote him, he feels the best he’s felt in a long, long time. I think he’s looked good out there not just today, but all the days he’s been out there. He’s had a great offseason. Hopefully we’ll see the real Jake Butt here this season”

WILL HE MAKE THE TEAM?

The NFL isn’t exactly patient when it comes to player injuries. For a player who is still very unproven, the situation doesn’t get any better.

Over the years, the Broncos have parted ways early on with plenty of players who have not produced to the level they anticipated.  But the team has seemingly made an exception for Jake Butt’s talent. Now entering the final year on his rookie contract, Butt has overcome some unfavorable odds. He continues being on the team despite only starting in three regular season games.

However, he isn’t in the clear. In fact, he’s far from it. Even with what is shaping up to be one of his best training camps to date, there is no guarantee of making the team this year. Unlike his first year entering the league, the Broncos now have a packed tight end room gushing with talent.

With Noah Fant, Nick Vannett, and Albert Okwuegbunam all expected to make the roster, Jake Butt will have plenty of convincing to do in order to make the final cut. Butt’s biggest competition lies in Andrew Beck and Troy Fumagalli, both of whom had commendable seasons last year.

The harsh reality is Jake Butt is a long shot at making the team this year. His health has become a hindrance to his career, and with so little proven at the pro level, Butt’s future in Denver and in the NFL is very much in doubt. It will all boil down to the final weeks of training camp. Come September 5th, the Broncos will either have the feel-good story of 2020, or another NFL comeback cut short.


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