Okwuegbunam played one offensive snap and didn't record any counting stats during Sunday's 32-23 loss to the Raiders.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam played 42 offensive snaps in the team's season-opening loss to the Seahawks, but he's seen his snap count decrease in each of the past three games and hardly played at all in Week 4. Eric Saubert led the Broncos' tight end room with 41 offensive snaps against Las Vegas, while Eric Tomlinson (21) and Andrew Beck (12) both garnered solid roles as well. However, Saubert was the only tight end involved in the passing attack, catching one of two targets for 25 yards. Greg Dulcich, a rookie third-round pick, is on track to return from IR ahead of Week 5, so his presence will make Okwuegbunam's path back into the offensive game plan even more difficult.
Oct 4, 2022 7:25 AM EST
Okwuegbunam caught one of two targets for 12 yards in Sunday's 11-10 win over the 49ers.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam continued his disappointing start to the 2022 season, seeing just two targets for the second straight week. What's more concerning is that the 24-year-old played on just 24 of the Broncos' 74 offensive snaps, 11 fewer than fellow tight ends Eric Saubert and Eric Tomlinson. Fantasy managers hoping for Okwuegbunam to take a major step forward this season will have to take a wait-and-see approach as the Denver offense works to repair an offense that is clearly broken. Until then, the 6-foot-5, 258-pounder will be extremely difficult to trust for fantasy purposes when the Broncos visit the Raiders in Week 4.
Sep 27, 2022 8:31 PM EST
Okwuegbunam was targeted twice, but failed to record a catch in Sunday's 16-9 win over the Texans.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam was a nonfactor in the contest on a day when Russell Wilson completed just 14 total passes and the team only managed to score 16 points. The 24-year-old had an opportunity to become more involved when Jerry Jeudy exited the game with a rib injury, but the Broncos offense could not get much going. The lone touchdown of the day came in the fourth quarter when Russell Wilson hooked up with tight end Eric Saubert on a 22-yard score. Fantasy managers hoping that Okwuegbunam could make a big leap this year should exercise caution while Denver's offense finds its groove. The 6-foot-5, 258-pounder will look to get more involved in Week 3 when the Broncos host the 49ers.
Sep 18, 2022 7:41 PM EST
Okwuegbunam caught five of six targets for 33 yards in Monday's 17-16 loss to Seattle.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam led all Broncos tight ends in catches and targets, though tight end/fullback Andrew Beck topped him in receiving yards with 52. Running back Javonte Williams caught 11 passes while Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton each topped 70 receiving yards, so Okwuegbunam looks like the fourth option at best in Denver's passing game heading into a Week 2 visit from the Texans.
Sep 12, 2022 9:17 PM EST
Okwuegbunam (lower body) wasn't listed on Friday's injury report.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam dealt with some tightness last week, but that has evidently cleared up. With Noah Fant now in Seattle and rookie third-round pick Greg Dulcich starting the season on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury, Okwuegbunam will open the season Monday against Seattle as the top tight end in Denver's new-look, Russell Wilson-led offense.
Sep 9, 2022 10:17 AM EST
Okwuegbunam (lower body) practiced Tuesday, Zac Stevens of TheDNVR.com reports.
Analysis: Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett said Okwuegbunam "had a little tightness" last week, but he appears to be fine heading into Week 1. With Noah Fant gone and Russell Wilson in town, the 2020 fourth-round pick is expected to have a big season as the Broncos' No. 1 tight end. Last year, he appeared in 14 games and caught 33 of 40 targets for 330 yards and two scores.
Sep 6, 2022 10:25 AM EST
Okwuegbunam was held out of the Broncos' preseason finale as well as practice Wednesday due to a lower body issue, but added that he could have played Saturday had it been a regular season contest, Ryan O'Halloran of The Denver Post reports.
Analysis: It remains to be seen if the tight end appears on the team's Week 1 injury report next week, but Okwuegbunam's status for the season opener doesn't appear to be in any danger. Once the season commences, the 24-year-old is slated to work as the Broncos' top pass-catching tight end, a role that Okwuegbunam should maintain out of the gate, with 2022 third-rounder Greg Dulcich on IR an in line to miss the first four games of the season, per Aric DiLalla of the team's official site. In that context, Okwuegbunam could yield some early-season fantasy lineup utility if he displays good on-field chemistry with Russell Wilson, Denver's new franchise QB.
Sep 1, 2022 10:40 AM EST
Okwuegbunam isn't in line to play in Saturday's preseason game versus the Vikings, George Stoia III of The Denver Gazette reports.
Analysis: Offensive coordinator Justin Outten implied to Zac Stevens of TheDNVR.com on Thursday that Okwuegbunam again would see action in the Broncos' third exhibition, but it appears coach Nathaniel Hackett ultimately will keep his top tight end on the sideline Saturday. Overall, Okwuegbunam hauled in four of five passes (for 32 yards) from quarterbacks not named Russell Wilson in two contests, so their connection won't be seen on the field until Week 1, when the team opens the campaign Monday, Sept. 12 with a visit to Seattle.
Aug 27, 2022 5:33 PM EST
Offensive coordinator Justin Outten said Thursday that Okwuegbunam will play in Saturday's preseason contest against the Vikings, Zac Stevens of TheDNVR.com reports.
Analysis: After Okwuegbunam didn't receive a target on 16 offensive snaps in the Broncos' exhibition opener, he played much of preseason Week 2 this past Saturday in Buffalo, gathering in four of five passes for 32 yards. His usage under new coach Nathaniel Hackett has been strange to say the least as Denver's No. 1 tight end, but Okwuegbunam has yet to see action with new quarterback Russell Wilson and likely won't this weekend as well. As long as Okwuegbunam emerges Saturday with his health intact, he should serve as one of the team's top playmakers Week 1 and beyond.
Aug 25, 2022 8:58 PM EST
Okwuegbunam played the entirety of Denver's preseason game against Buffalo on Saturday, catching four receptions for 32 yards on five targets.
Analysis: Coach Nathaniel Hackett said afterward that Okwuegbunam "needs reps," indicating some sort of dissatisfaction. By all accounts Okwuegbunam has made big plays consistently in Broncos training camp, so it's not clear why Hackett is playing mind games or what end he thinks he's working toward, but just as any other time he's ever played Okwuegbunam drew usage and played well against the Bills. It would be odd for Hackett to antagonize what might be his best big-play threat on offense, but for now that appears to be the situation.
Aug 20, 2022 2:10 PM EST
Okwuegbunam did not log a target during the Broncos' 17-7 preseason win over the Cowboys on Saturday night.
Analysis: The projected starting tight end did start the game but didn't make a mark on the stat sheet. However, there's no active threat to Okwuegbunam's status as the top player at his position to open the season, and he could certainly see some targets in next Saturday night's road preseason clash against the Bills if the Broncos treat the game as a dress rehearsal and Russell Wilson plays at least a couple of series.
Aug 13, 2022 9:24 PM EST
Okwuegbunam has caught a lot of passes from QB Russell Wilson during training camp, with coach Nathaniel Hackett saying Tuesday that the tight end has become more comfortable in Denver's new offense after a slow start at OTAs, Andrew Mason of 104.5 The Fan reports.
Analysis: Rookie third-round pick Greg Dulcich got a lot of the hype during the offseason program, but it seems he's been quieter at training camp after missing the first week with a hamstring injury. Hackett said Okwuegbunam has been "absolutely splendid" this summer, noting that the Broncos have "been putting him all over the place" and are pleased with his progress as a blocker. That last part doesn't profile as a strength for either Okwuegbunam or Dulcich, but the third-year pro at least has a size advantage at 6-foot-5, 258 pounds (compared to the rookie at 6-4, 245).
Aug 10, 2022 7:41 AM EST
Okweugbunam and fellow tight end Greg Dulcich (hamstring) could take on a bit more work in the passing game after Broncos wideout Tim Patrick suffered a season-ending knee injury, NFL.com's Kevin Patra reports.
Analysis: The Broncos still have solid depth at wide receiver, not to mention their RB duo of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon, so it's not like Patrick's recent knee tear leaves them hurting for capable playmakers. More relevant for Okwuegbunam is Dulcich's continued absence from practice on account of a hamstring injury, thereby reducing the rookie's odds to earn a significant role early in the season. There was chatter earlier this summer about Dulcich making a push for the starting job, and while that may have been misguided or overly optimistic, the rookie does pose some threat to take away snaps in clear passing situations, which would be a major problem for Okwuegbunam's fantasy value. The first week of camp, however, has been a clear win for anyone rooting for an Okweugbunam breakout.
Aug 4, 2022 9:38 AM EST
Okwuegbunam shared Broncos' first-team reps with rookie Greg Dulcich during OTAs and faces competition for the No. 1 tight end spot, Mike Klis of 9News Denver reports.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam should have the inside track to remain atop the depth chart at tight end in Denver, but Dulcich's involvement with the starters this offseason could mean the veteran's job is less secure than once thought. The rookie, chosen 80th overall in the 2022 draft, has promise as a pass catcher and the coaching staff seems interested in seeing what they have in the UCLA product. The duo had been splitting reps with the first-team offense in OTAs prior to Dulcich missing time with a minor core muscle pull. Third-year veteran Okwuegbunam will likely start the year as the No. 1 tight end, but Dulcich's on-field performance could compel the coaching staff to make a switch during the season.
Jul 20, 2022 10:22 AM EST
With the addition of rookie tight end Greg Dulcich in the third round of the draft, Okwuegbunam may find himself sharing duties at the position in 2022, Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: Though Okwuegbunam's starting tight end position is likely secure at this point, the addition of Dulcich through the draft could certainly cut into the veteran's playing time next season. Okwuegbunam became poised to be the Broncos starting tight end with the departure of Noah Fant to Seattle as part of the deal to acquire Russell Wilson. Dulcich, however, caught the eye of head coach Nathaniel Hackett as an impact player. "When you have a guy that can stretch the field like he can, it's really exciting," Hackett said of the UCLA product. Regardless of how the tight end pecking order plays out in 2022, the arrival of Wilson at quarterback will likely help to elevate the fantasy production of the entire Denver pass catching group.
May 6, 2022 6:24 AM EST
With Noah Fant slated to head to the Seahawks in the looming Russell Wilson trade, Okwuegbunam currently profiles as the Broncos' top option at tight end, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic reports.
Analysis: The 2020 fourth-rounder is coming off a 2021 season in which he hauled in 33 of his 40 targets for 330 yards and two TDs in 14 games. With Fant, who saw 90 targets in 16 contests last year, out of the equation, Okwuegbunam seems poised for an uptick in work this coming season, but Kosmider suggests that the Broncos could well bring in some tight end competition via free agency and/or the draft. In any case, the anticipated addition of Wilson does boost the fantasy prospects of the team's skill players, a context that gives Okwuegbunam some sleeper appeal, though to what degree depends on how the team's TE depth chart ultimately shakes out in the coming months.
Mar 10, 2022 10:15 AM EST
Okwuegbunam finished the 2021 season with 33 catches for 330 yards and two touchdowns.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam operated as the Broncos' No. 2 tight end in 2021, and he saw his role increase in his second year with the team. The 23-year-old played in 14 games this season, a big jump from the four games played in his rookie season. Though Noah Fant is the team's starter at the position, it's clear the team trusted Okwuegbunam to take a step forward based on his usage on 47 percent of Denver's offensive snaps this season. Both Okwuegbunam and Fant are still on their rookie contracts, so both tight ends will likely be with the team in 2022. He has two more years on his deal, so it would not be surprising to see Okwuegbunam's role grow even more in 2022 with Fant set to become a free agent at the end of next season. The team may want to evaluate what they have in Okwuegbunam even further before determining if they will re-sign Noah Fant in 2023. Nonetheless, the 6-foot-5, 258-pounder would benefit from an upgrade at quarterback to give the entire passing game a boost for the upcoming season.
Jan 15, 2022 10:32 AM EST
Okwuegbunam caught both of his targets for five yards in Sunday's 34-13 loss to the Chargers.
Analysis: Operating as the Broncos' No. 2 tight end, Okwuegbunam was just not a big part of the game plan Sunday. The 23-year-old played on 50 percent of the team's offensive snaps, but quarterback Drew Lock looked his way just twice. Meanwhile, starter Noah Fant caught six of his seven targets for 92 yards and a touchdown. Okwuegbunam is a young player with a lot of talent, but he will likely continue to cede the majority of work at tight end in a Week 18 matchup with the Chiefs.
Jan 5, 2022 5:14 AM EST
Okwuegbunam failed to catch either of his two targets in Sunday's 17-13 loss to the Raiders.
Analysis: It was a rough day for the Denver passing attack, so it's not surprising that Okwuegbunam, the team's No. 2 tight end, struggled in the contest. The second-year tight end played just 33 percent of the team's offensive snaps, and his two targets were his lowest total since Week 12. Okwuegbunam should remain far off the fantasy radar in a Week 17 matchup with the Chargers.
Dec 29, 2021 7:24 AM EST
Okwuegbunam (knee) doesn't carry an injury designation for Sunday's game against the Raiders after practicing fully Friday.
Analysis: Okwuegbunam was limited Wednesday and Thursday, but his return to a full session Friday sets the stage for him to suit up this weekend. Though he's been working in time-share that has tilted in Noah Fant's direction, Okwuegbunam has carved out deeper league utility of late, having caught 11 passes on 13 targets for 120 yards and a TD over his last three games.
Dec 24, 2021 4:09 PM EST
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