Measurables: 6-foot-6, 270 pounds.
2014 stats: one reception, eight yards.
As a freshman at Fresno State, Marcel Jensen converted from defensive end to tight end. It likely saved his football career. He finished college life with 48 career receptions, 708 yards and eight touchdowns. As a senior, he was named second team All-Mountain West Conference.
Alas, the 2014 NFL Draft came and went without Jensen’s name getting called. But the Jacksonville Jaguars took a flyer on him, signing him as a college free agent. He was eventually promoted to the active roster, from the practice squad, halfway through September and appeared in one game.
When free agency opened this past March, the Jaguars signed two-time Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas. Soon after, Marcedes Lewis agreed to a restructured contract. This gave Jacksonville a bona-fide one-two punch at the tight end position and one of the collateral casualties was Jensen, who was waived in May.
The Denver Broncos claimed him off waivers, which came as a reaction to the team losing rookie third round tight end Jeff Heuerman to a torn ACL at rookie camp. Jensen has been with the team throughout offseason training activities and has a shot at making the final roster.
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Virgil Green and Owen Daniels are locked in as the Broncos top-two tight ends. Beyond them is where the competition gets thick. James Casey was signed to serve as the Broncos fullback, but can also be called upon to play tight end. Barring injury, he will make the final roster.
That leaves a three-way battle between Jensen, Joe Don Duncan and Dominique Jones for what will likely be two spots. It’s possible the Broncos will only roster three tight ends, knowing that Casey, or Duncan, can play tight end and fullback.
Tight end and fullback are two staple positions in Gary Kubiak’s offensive scheme. At 270 pounds, Jensen is a strong, big-bodied tight end, who has shown some athleticism. In his limited snaps last season, he garnered a negative grade in pass blocking and a positive grade in run blocking, via Pro Football Focus. At the Combine last year, he led all tight ends with a 35-inch vertical jump.
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Nolan Nawrocki's scouting report via NFL.com summed Jensen up thusly:
BOTTOM LINE: Athletic, long-armed, ascending talent who did not play a starring role in a run-and-gun, receiver-dominated spread offense, but has raw physical tools to develop into a balanced "Y" tight end. Should only get better and has potential to become an asset in the running game and a mismatch in the passing game.
With Jones’ history with the Broncos and the buzz that Duncan has garnered thus far in team activities, it doesn’t bode well that Jensen’s name has been conspicuously absent from grapevine. However, if he fails to make the final roster, he still has practice squad eligibility left.
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