When the Denver Broncos announced their final cuts on Saturday, we knew they weren't done shaping the tight end position—it left just two true tight ends, Owen Daniels and Virgil Green. Our suspicion was confirmed the next day when they claimed former Green Bay Packers TE Mitchell Henry.
Henry wasn't claimed to compete on the practice squad—he was signed to the active roster, in place of Montee Ball, giving the Broncos three TEs. James Casey's primary duties will be as a fullback, but he can also step in at TE if needed.
“I think it was pretty obvious from a tight end standpoint we were going to try to improve the depth of our football team," Kubiak said. "[We were] kind of excited that he [Henry] was out there with our guys watching him. Watching him move around today, he moves very well. Between he and actually [TE Arthur] Lynch, also, I think it's just really going to help us. You go from a group where you have two guys and now you feel like you've got a pretty strong group, but we've some catching up to do."
Henry played college ball at Conference USA's Western Kentucky. In his final 24 collegiate games, he notched 57 catches for 794 yards and six touchdowns. It wasn't enough to hear his name called on draft day. But the Packers signed him as a priority college free agent.
"Coaches always told me that. Starting freshman year, they told me, 'You could play in the NFL,'" Henry recalled. "I really didn't listen to it a lot because that's a long way off. I don't want to think about that. I knew as a player I still had a long way to go."
At 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, he's proficient as a receiver, with strong hands and fearlessness across the middle. He has impressive speed for his position, clocking a 4.69 40-yard dash at his pro day. But most draftniks and scouts viewed him as an unreliable in-line blocker and not powerful enough at the point of attack.
However, the Broncos kept an eye on Henry while he was in Green Bay and liked him enough to not only claim him on the waiver wire, but give him a spot on the 53-man roster. The Broncos had big plans for their third round pick Jeff Heuerman, but an ACL tear ended his rookie campaign.
The hope is that Henry can be molded as a blocker, stop the gap for the Broncos in 2015 and serve as reliable depth behind Daniels and Green. The Broncos neededed better tight end depth and in the Henry signing, they got it.
Henry is more on the developmental side than you'd prefer to start the season, but he has NFL-caliber talent.
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