Friday, January 18, 2019

On Tuesday, the Denver Broncos acquired tight end A.J. Derby from the New England Patriots in exchange for a 2017 draft pick. The move is not expected to affect NFL betting predictions for the week, but it should provide some depth for the Broncos at the tight end position.

Hottie A.J. Derby joins the Denver Broncos mid-season

Hottie A.J. Derby joins the Denver Broncos mid-season

To create room for Derby, the Broncos released safety Shiloh Keo, who signed with the team as a free agent last December, while Omar Bolden, David Bruton Jr., and T.J. Ward were dealing with injuries. After the injured players recovered, Keo stayed on the team through their Super Bowl victory.

At the start of the season, Keo had to serve a two-game suspension, and was released by the team, only to resign with the Broncos again a few days later.

The tight end position has seen a significant drop off in depth for Denver in the last two seasons. During the 2014 season, Julius Thomas emerged as the team’s starting tight end, and gave then quarterback Peyton Manning a big body to throw to in the endzone.

After the season, the Broncos felt Thomas was expendable and didn’t match the offer he received from the Jacksonville Jaguars. At the time, John Elway felt the team could get another tight end to replace Thomas, but they have been unable to find a consistent performer to fill the role.

Even though things haven’t worked out well for Thomas in Jacksonville, most of it is due to the bad play at the quarterback position. For Denver however, they are hoping that Derby will be solid enough and help their young quarterbacks this season.

Derby had a great preseason with New England, but he was unable to get ample playing time with the Patriots because they have All-Pro Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennet on the team. In Denver, he should get the amount of playing time he is looking for, and will have an opportunity to show just how good he is.

While he was in New England, head coach Bill Belichick praised his work ethic, which is a big deal considering the coach doesn’t say much about his players publicly. At 6 feet 5 inches and 255 pounds, Derby is the prototypical tight end. He is also a good blocker and receiver, which will make him very useful to the Broncos offense.

Derby is a second year player from Arkansas, but he did not get to see any action last year because he was placed on the injured reserve. Since he has only been playing the tight end position for a little over a year, he still has a lot of work to do, but according to Belichick, he has shown significant improvement since he was drafted by New England in the sixth round of the 2015 draft.

With Peyton Manning retiring after last season, Denver is using inexperienced quarterbacks this season, and will need as many safety blankets as possible, which makes the team trading for Derby a very smart move.

Even with the young quarterback, the Broncos are still playing very well and are currently tied with the Oakland Raiders at the top of the AFC West.

 

About the author: Jennifer Taglione is the owner of this fabulous website Stiletto Sports. Despite writing well over 500 posts, she still maintains that she is not a sports writer! She is however a huge fan of Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Mark Sanchez, the Celtics, and totally kicks butt on March Madness brackets! Connect with her by following her on Twitter @StilettoSportsJ and subscribing to her weekly newsletter. For more info check out the About the Editor page!

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