Okwuegbunam (knee) started training camp as a limited participant in practice, Troy Renck of Denver 7 News reports.
Analysis: The 2020 fourth-round pick had surgery Dec. 1 to repair a torn ACL in his right knee, ending his rookie season with an 11/121/1 receiving line in four games. The Broncos seem to be counting on Okwuegbunam to finish up his rehab and earn the No. 2 spot at tight end, considering their other depth options at the position are Austin Fort (zero NFL appearances), Eric Saubert (10 catches in 40 games) and undrafted rookie Shaun Beyer. Starter Noah Fant already figures to play a lot of snaps, and he could handle even more than usual early in the season if Okwuegbunam struggles to get back into game shape at the end of a lengthy rehab process.
Jul 29, 2021 6:25 AM EST
Okwuegbunam (knee) got limited on-field work in during Monday's practice, George Stoia of The Denver Gazette reports.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam is roughly five months removed from undergoing surgery to repair his torn right ACL. While he certainly isn't back to full health yet, it's encouraging to see the tremendously athletic tight end progressing well in his recovery. Coach Vic Fangio previously said that Okwuegbunam might not be fully healthy for the start of training camp, but it appears that he could still be on track for Week 1.
May 17, 2021 4:41 PM EST
Coach Vic Fangio said Saturday that Okwuegbunam (knee) is progressing well, but may not be ready for the start of training camp, Aric DiLalla of the Broncos' official site reports.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam had a solid four games as a rookie before suffering an ACL tear, recording 11 catches for 121 yards and a score as the team's No. 2 tight end. The Missouri product continues to rehab his knee from surgery, and it's good news to hear his coach echo positive sentiments in his recovery.
May 2, 2021 8:11 AM EST
Okwuegbunam (knee) said Thursday that he anticipates being healthy for the tentative start of training camp with "no issues," Aric DiLalla of the Broncos' official site reports.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam flashed through four appearances as a rookie prior to suffering a season-ending ACL tear, securing 11 of 15 targets for 121 yards and a score while battling for work behind Noah Fant. The 22-year-old, now roughly 12 weeks removed from knee surgery, said he's on track to resume jogging before the end of February. The NFL's offseason schedule is currently still murky, but Okwuegbunam at least appears on track for the tentative start of training camp, barring any postponements of complications.
Feb 18, 2021 2:24 PM EST
Okwuegbunam caught 11 of 15 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown during the 2020 season.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam quickly renewed his chemistry with former Mizzou teammate Drew Lock. The rookie was targeted six times in his debut in Week 5 against New England and then caught all seven of his targets against Kansas City in Week 7. He nabbed an acrobatic, game-turning touchdown in the comeback win over the Chargers before tearing his ACL in Week 9 at Atlanta. Okwuegbunam is an enticing weapon with true 4.5 speed at 260 pounds. With a full offseason ahead of him, he could be a tantalizing TE2 to pair with Noah Fant depending on what the Broncos do with veteran Nick Vannett in the offseason.
Jan 14, 2021 7:21 PM EST
Okwuegbunam underwent successful surgery to repair a torn ACL on Tuesday, Troy Renck of Denver 7 News reports.
Analysis: The rookie tight end will now shift his focus toward rehabbing for the 2021 season. It's unclear whether he'll be ready in time for Week 1 after picking up the injury on Nov. 8. The rookie fourth-round pick showed promise before the brutal injury, receiving heavy targets from college teammate Drew Lock and finishing with an 11-121-1 line over four games. Okwuegbunam will reside on IR for the remainder of the season.
Dec 1, 2020 5:44 PM EST
The Broncos placed Okwuegbunam (knee) on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday, Mike Klis of 9News Denver reports.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam showed flashes of his potential in his rookie season, as Drew Lock targeted him in the red zone four times over four games, and the tight end finished with 11 receptions for 121 yards and a score in that stretch. The Missouri product suffered an ACL injury Week 9 and will be shut down for the season, and he could make a full recovery for the 2021 campaign. Moving forward, Noah Fant (ankle) will continue to operate as the No. 1 tight end while Nick Vannett collects some of the reps left behind by Okwuegbunam.
Nov 10, 2020 2:22 PM EST
Okwuegbunam (knee) sustained a torn right ACL during Sunday's 34-27 loss to the Falcons, Mike Klis of 9News Denver reports.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam was forced out of Sunday's contest after making his first catch of the day in the third quarter, and it's now been revealed that he sustained a season-ending injury on the play. Not only is the timing brutal for the rookie fourth-round pick, who had been building momentum on offense and establishing a connection with Drew Lock in the red zone, but as Klis notes it represents further attrition for the Broncos, an organization with 13 players already on IR. Okwuegbunam's rookie campaign comes to an end with 11 catches on 15 targets, which he converted into 121 yards and one score in four contests.
Nov 9, 2020 10:05 AM EST
Okwuegbunam was forced out of Sunday's game against the Falcons with a knee injury, Patrick Smyth of the Broncos' official site reports.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam caught his first pass of the game with 5:28 remaining in the third quarter, but he went down in clear pain and immediately left for the locker room. Noah Fant already injured his ankle earlier this game but was able to return, so Fant and Nick Vannett will handle the reps at tight end if Okwuegbunam doesn't return.
Nov 8, 2020 12:25 PM EST
Okwuegbunam caught his only target for a nine-yard touchdown during Sunday's 31-30 win over the Chargers.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam brought the Broncos to within a score early in the fourth quarter, skying for the touchdown in the back of the end zone and getting his rear in bounds for his first career score. It was arguably just his second most important play of the game. Okwuegbunam drew a critical pass-interference penalty in the back of the end zone during the closing seconds that set up the winning play. Okwuegbunam has chemistry with Drew Lock from their college days at Mizzou and it's shown. In addition to his two big plays in the red zone Sunday, Okwuegbunam let a touchdown or two clang off his hands back in Week 6 against New England. He's a difficult matchup in the red zone and the more consistently he completes plays, the bigger threat he'll be.
Nov 1, 2020 8:00 PM EST
Okwuegbunam corralled all seven of his targets for 60 receiving yards during Sunday's 43-16 loss to Kansas City.
Analysis: The fourth-round rookie didn't make his first contribution on the stat sheet until the 6:43 mark of the second quarter, but he concluded the afternoon with more than double the receptions of Denver's No. 2 option. Starting tight end Noah Fant was unable to play last week against New England because of an ankle injury, paving the way for Okwuegbunam to attract six targets in that game. Fant was active against the Chiefs on Sunday, but Okwuegbunam equaled his seven targets. Both young tight ends shift focus to a Week 8 matchup against the Chargers, and a defense that has surrendered four TE touchdowns on the season.
Oct 25, 2020 8:27 PM EST
Okwuegbunam caught two of six targets for 45 yards during Sunday's 18-12 win over the Patriots.
Analysis: With Noah Fant (ankle) out, Okwuegbunam was the downfield threat at tight end Sunday. His former college teammate Drew Lock looked his way early with five targets during Denver's first three drives. The results were mixed. The rookie had two nice catch-and-runs, but had at least two would-be-touchdowns clang off his hands. Depending on Fant's health, Okwuegbunam is no guarantee to see the field Sunday against Kansas City, but his tantalizing athleticism should serve as incentive for the coaching staff to be patient with his shaky hands.
Oct 19, 2020 8:13 PM EST
Okwuegbunam has officially been declared inactive for Monday's matchup with the Titans due to a Coach's Decision, Aric DiLalla of the Broncos' official website reports.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam was limited at Thursday's practice due to an ankle issue but subsequently logged full workloads the next two days. it is unclear if he suffered some type of setback or if the Broncos are just erring on the side of caution here. Regardless, he was not expected to play a big role in the contest, as he is behind Noah Fant, Nick Vannett and Jake Butt on the depth chart.
Sep 14, 2020 6:04 PM EST
Okwuegbunam (ankle) was a limited participant during Thursady's practice, Zac Stevens of TheDNVR.com reports.
Analysis: This is unfortunate news for Okwuegbunam, as he just resumed practicing after dealing with a hip problem during training camp. With second-year pro Noah Fant locked in as Denver's clear top tight end, Okwuegbunam's possible absence from the team Week 1 won't affect much from a fantasy perspective.
Sep 10, 2020 3:12 PM EST
Okwuegbunam (hip) is participating in Tuesday's practice, Mike Klis of 9News Denver reports.
Analysis: The hip issue sidelined the rookie tight end over the weekend, but his presence on the field Tuesday suggests he's on track to be ready to go for the Sept. 14 season opener versus the Titans. With second-year man Noah Fant locked in as Denver's clear top tight end, Okwuegbunam is poised to fill a minor role in the passing game to begin the season, if Denver chooses to keep him active in Week 1.
Sep 8, 2020 11:19 AM EST
Okwuegbunam has a hip issue and will not participate in Friday's stadium practice, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic reports.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam will have just over one week to get fully healthy ahead of Sept. 14's season-opener against the Titans. The rookie tight end has reportedly put together an impressive training camp, and it wouldn't be out of the question for him to push Nick Vannett for the No. 2 role right out of the gate. Noah Fant looks locked in as Denver's top tight end, but Okwuegbunam boasts the athleticism and red zone prowess to make an impact even on limited snaps.
Sep 3, 2020 5:28 PM EST
Okwuegbunam is playing well in training camp, the Denver Post reports.
Analysis: More specifically, the article opens with a line stating, "there's a growing belief rookie Albert Okwuegbunam is a star-in-waiting." Noah Fant is a former first-round pick incumbent with his own substantial brand, but as a fourth-round pick Okwuegbunam boasts a lot of the same traits that made Fant so valued in the first place. Fant (6-4, 249) ran a 4.5-second 40 at the combine, yet Okwuegbunam posted a 4.49 40 at nine pounds heavier. Prior to running his 4.49 40, Okwuegbunam (6-5, 258) was largely written off as a red-zone specialist, so by demonstrating that speed he gave reason to project eventual viability between the 20s in addition to the red zone. Fant seems too good to get displaced, especially by a rookie, but it looks like Okwuegbunam could push for meaningful snaps right away. If his emergence continues, it could at the very least give Denver reason to consider more two-TE formations than they might have planned on going into training camp.
Sep 1, 2020 9:16 AM EST
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