Denver Broncos tight end Virgil Green has not made a big impact through his first two seasons, with just eight receptions for 87 yards in 27 games played. He was suspended for the first four games of last season for a violation of the league’s banned substances policy, but saw his snap count increase a bit late in the season and no less an authority than quarterback Peyton Manning hinted at the progress he made.
Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme are ahead of Green in the tight end pecking order for the Broncos heading into training camp, but he has physical tools the two more seasoned veterans do not and it would not be surprising to see him make a move up the depth chart. Dreessen had arthroscopic knee surgery in late May, and if he is limited at all during camp Green and fellow 2011 draft pick Julius Thomas should see significant practice reps and a lot of action in preseason games.
Thomas, who has been limited by injuries to his point in his career, has to be considered Green’s main competition for a roster spot right now. But it’s definitely possible Denver will carry four tight ends into the regular season, if only because they use a two-tight end set fairly frequently and to give Manning as many weapons as possible.
I don’t expect Green to earn a starting job right out of the gate, regardless of how good he looks during camp and the preseason. But if he can earn Manning’s endorsement a significant role could materialize fairly quickly, and Dreessen and Tamme are simply not good enough to keep him off the field.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.