Albert Okwuegbunam

Broncos’ Albert Okwuegbunam Has Torn ACL

The hits just keep on coming for the Broncos. Rookie tight end Albert Okwuegbunam suffered a torn ACL during the team’s loss to the Falcons yesterday, a source told Mike Klis of Denver 9 News (Twitter link).

Needless to say, Okwuegbunam will be done for the rest of the season. The Broncos drafted the Missouri product back in April, and this is a tough way for his rookie season to end. He was inactive the first four games of the season, but had started to play a real role on offense in recent weeks. He was playing a solid chunk of the offensive snaps, and in Denver’s Week 7 loss to the Chiefs he had seven catches for 60 yards.

All told, he’ll finish the year with 11 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown in four contests. Noah Fant has been playing through a lingering ankle injury which he again briefly re-aggravated on Sunday, and his health will be even more important moving forward. Jake Butt is currently on IR, which means Nick Vannett will likely see an increase in snaps in Okwuegbunam’s absence. Fortunately, it’s still early enough that Okwuegbunam should be able to make a full recovery in time for the start of his sophomore campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 7/22/20

Here are the latest draft pick signings. With rookies set to report to teams’ training camps this week, teams are busy on this front.

  • The Vikings were the busiest team in the draft, making 15 picks this year. They have been active signing them Wednesday. Beyond first-rounder Justin Jefferson, Minnesota has agreed to terms with second-round tackle Ezra Cleveland, fourth-round linebacker Troy Dye, fourth-round defensive tackle James Lynch and seventh-round offensive lineman Kyle Hinton. Cleveland, rumored as a possible late-first-round selection, will be groomed to become a near-future starter for the Vikings.
  • The Broncos began signing some of their picks, most notably getting third-rounders Michael Ojemudia and McTelvin Agim under contract. A cornerback, Ojemudia is set to compete for a starting job opposite A.J. Bouye; Agim profiles as D-line depth behind established starters this season. Denver also signed fourth-round tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, a Mizzou alum set to rejoin his former quarterback (Drew Lock) in the Mile High City. The Broncos also reached an agreement with seventh-round outside linebacker Derrek Tuszka.
  • Despite having T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree under contract, the Steelers used a third-round pick on outside linebacker Alex Highsmith. The Charlotte alum agreed to terms on his four-year rookie deal. Highsmith recorded 15 sacks at the mid-major program last season.
  • Packers third-round pick Josiah Deguara also agreed on his four-year rookie contract. Green Bay eschewed its wide receiver need throughout the draft, using Day 2 to add a running back (A.J. Dillon) and Deguara, who profiles as a tight end/fullback. The Cincinnati product surpassed 900 yards between his final two college seasons, totaling 12 touchdown grabs in that span.
  • Tennessee third-round running back Darrynton Evans signed his rookie deal as well. Evans looks set to replace Dion Lewis as the TitansDerrick Henry change-of-pace back. The Appalachian State alum rushed for 1,480 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He added five receiving TDs.
  • The Giants used first- and third-round picks on tackles. The latter selection, UConn’s Matt Peart, agreed to the terms of his rookie deal Wednesday. Peart profiles as a developmental lineman, working behind expected starters Nate Solder and Andrew Thomas. He stands to join Cameron Fleming as depth for Big Blue.
  • Washington has agreed to terms with third-round running back/wideout Antonio Gibson, fourth-round receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden and fifth-round center Keith Ismael. Gibson and Gandy-Golden figure to be key parts of a Washington offense that is limited, beyond Terry McLaurin, in the passing game. Gibson totaled 1,104 yards from scrimmage at Memphis last season, while Gandy-Golden caught 20 touchdown passes in two years at Liberty.
  • Fourth-round Cowboys pick Reggie Robinson agreed to terms as well. The Tulsa cornerback joins a Cowboys team that lost Byron Jones in free agency. Dallas was active in an effort to replace the Pro Bowler, drafting Trevon Diggs in Round 2 and signing Daryl Worley.
  • Sixth-round Chargers safety Alohi Gilman, a Notre Dame alum, signed his Chargers contract Wednesday. Gillman joins a deep Bolts safety corps.
  • The Buccaneers drafted two running backs this year. On Wednesday, they agreed to terms with the second of those picks — seventh-rounder Raymond Calais. In addition to his work as a running back at Louisiana, Calais was a four-year kick returner for the Rajin’ Cajuns.

Draft Notes: Tua, Okwuegbunam, Reagor

As Tua Tagovailoa continues to rehab from a hip injury, the quarterback is uncertain whether he’ll enter the NFL Draft or stay at Alabama for another season. In a conversation with Cecil Hurt of TideSports.com (and passed along by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com on Twitter), Tagovailoa said he’ll continue to discuss his future with his parents in anticipation of the January 20th deadline to declare for the draft.

“There is a risk and a reward if I stay and a risk and a reward if I go,” Tagovailoa said. “The risk if I stay is obviously ‘Do I get hurt again?’ The reward is that I could come back and have another good year like my sophomore year and elevate myself back to the very top of the (NFL) draft.

“If I leave, I think the risk is a little higher. That risk would be how far do I drop in the draft. To me, it’s 50-50 between going in the first round and possibly going in the second round. If I go somewhere from first (overall) to around 24th, the money will be set. But let’s say — and I am just picking a number — that I go to the 31st pick. That would be about 9 million dollars. That’s a lot of money, an amount of money I’ve never had before, but it’s not high first-round money and you can never make that money up. They say you can (make it up) on your next contract but money lost is money lost to me.

“Those are the deciding factors. If my parents tell me that they think I should leave, that is obviously going to be a factor. But so far, they’ve told me that it’s my decision.”

The quarterback doesn’t have a timetable for his return from injury. Even with the ailment, we recently heard that Tagovailoa would still be a first-round pick in the 2020 draft.

Let’s check out some more draft notes:

  • TCU wideout Jalen Reagor announced on Twitter that he’s entering the 2020 draft. Following a 1,000-yard campaign in 2018, Reagor finished 2019 with 43 catches for 611 yards and five touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound receiver is listed as the sixth-best player at his position by CBS Sports.
  • Maryland RB Anthony McFarland Jr. has declared for the 2020 draft. The former redshirt sophomore still had two years of eligibility. McFarland finished his season having compiled 614 rushing yards and eight scores on 114 carries. He added another 17 catches for 126 yards and a touchdown.
  • Missouri will be losing a trio of contributors, as defensive tackle Jordan Elliott, tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, and offensive lineman Trystan Colon-Castillo all declared for the 2020 draft. Okwuegbunam is easily Missouri’s top-rated prospect, with the tight end ranking third at his position, per CBS Sports.
  • Oregon State receiver Isaiah Hodgins will enter the NFL Draft, the player announced on social media (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). The son of former NFL player James Hodgins, the Beavers wideout finished this past season with 86 receptions for 1,171 yards and 13 touchdowns. Considering the receiver depth in the upcoming draft, Hodgins will be hard pressed to be an early-round pick.
  • Colorado wideout Laviska Shenault Jr. is entering the draft, the team announced on Twitter. “Laviska Shenault represented our relentless culture and was one of the most dynamic, dominant and versatile players that I have ever coached,” said head coach Mel Tucker. Shenault had 1,775 yards and 10 touchdowns between the 2018 and 2019 seasons.