On August 4, Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett gave an update on the status of wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland.
Cleveland got hit in the throat during Monday’s practice.
According to Hackett, Cleveland is suffering from a cartilage injury.
“There’s a little cartilage thing going on there so it’s a little bit unique — I’ve actually never heard of it before,” Hackett said per ESPN’s Jeff Legwold.
Cleveland is expected to miss four to six weeks, according to Mike Klis of 9news. The injury will not require surgery.
Hackett said Cleveland will be “fine”.
“Everything’s fine, he’ll be fine, he’ll be back, it just one of those things because of the uniqueness of it, we want to be sure we’re OK,” Hackett said per Legwold.
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Broncos: Cleveland is in a Difficult Position
The Broncos selected Cleveland in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL draft. Across two seasons, he has appeared in 17 games playing a limited role on offense; he has recorded six receptions for 63 yards on ten targets. He has primarily been utilized on special teams. Cleveland has played 216 total special teams snaps in two seasons.
Cleveland will now face a difficult path to making the roster. Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, and Montrell Washington should be locks to make the roster. Behind that group, the Broncos have several options: Kaden Davis, Travis Fulgham, Kendall Hinton, Brandon Johnson, Trey Quinn, Darrius Shepherd, Jalen Virgil, and Seth Williams. It will be hard for Cleveland to separate himself from the pack.
Cleveland’s special teams contributions could be a differentiating factor in his favor.
Broncos: Tight Ends Could See Increased Usage With Patrick Out
Following the loss of Tim Patrick, there has been a lot of discussion about potential replacements. One intriguing option to help replace Patrick’s production is increased tight end usage.
Hackett discussed the possibility on Wednesday.
“There’s a lot of guys, and not only are they big bodies, but those dudes can run,” Hackett said per team reporter Aric DiLalla. “You saw it a couple times already watching all those guys — … getting Dulcich back, [him] being slowly worked back in, watching Albert run, [Eric] Saubert run, [Andrew] Beck’s run well. Whenever you have that kind of a fluid player that can be on the line and block to take advantage of matchups there and at the same time stretch the field vertically, you’re really excited.”
Albert Okwuegbunam was already set to receive a large role after the Broncos traded Noah Fant this offseason. Fant was targeted 90 times last season. The loss of Patrick only further increases Okwuegbunam’s potential workload. Given the circumstances, he seems destined for a breakout season.
Third-round pick Greg Dulcich should play a role, as well. I would not be surprised to see the Broncos utilize some more two tight end sets this season. As Hackett said, Okwuegbunam and Dulcich both have the speed to make plays vertically.