Tight end Virgil Green is entering his sixth season in the NFL, but despite being marginally used over the previous five years, the Denver Broncos anticipate a larger role for their former seventh-round pick in 2016.
After hauling in a career-best 12 receptions for 173 yards and one touchdown last season, Green now appears to have earned himself some additional snaps beyond his casual appearances in the two-tight end set.
Mike Klis of 9News reports the Broncos are expecting much more out of Green this coming season and may even use him as the featured tight end in single tight end sets.
In 72 career games for the Broncos, Green has hauled in 35 receptions for 379 yards and two touchdowns. Needless to say, he’s not been exceptionally productive offensively, but that hasn’t stopped the hype machine from repeatedly finding its way to him.
Prior to the start of last season, there was also increased speculation that Green would land himself a larger role on offense due to his exceptional physical shape and versatility. And while he may have put up career-best numbers, it’s not exactly what Broncos fans and fantasy players had in mind.
But if ever there were a time for Green to seize control of a tremendous opportunity, now would be it.
Green will head into training camp with higher expectations and less competition than he’s seen in recent years. And without the likes of Owen Daniels to battle it out with, there appears to be a legitimate chance he could win the starting job.
“In college, especially for a tight end, you have to play all positions, really,” Green told Broncos.com last season. “To me, for any tight end at any level, you’ve got to be able to play multiple positions because it creates mismatches. It creates havoc for defenses and that’s kind of what our coach demanded for us at Nevada. I carried the ball in college before, I’ve gotten a pitch, and I’ve gotten a shovel pass. I’ve pretty much done it all at the tight end position.”
Although there remains time for the Broncos to add another quality veteran tight end, Green’s current competition consists of Manasseh Garner, Jeff Heuerman, Garrett Graham and Henry Krieger-Coble — Graham being the only one with an NFL catch on his resume.
As it sits, Graham and Heuerman, provided he can remain healthy, will act as the two largest roadblocks on Green’s journey to start. And if nothing else, at least it creates a solid level of competition for the Broncos heading into the 2016 regular season.