Not only did the Denver Broncos get credited with a loss against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1, they’re also receiving a loss on the offensive side of the ball.
Denver’s top receiving tight end suffered the hamstring injury during the Broncos’ first game against the Raiders. Since Dulcich is going on injured reserve, the former UCLA Bruin will have to miss at least four games before returning. He will be eligible to return Week 6 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In his early career, Dulcich has caught 35 passes for 433 yards and two touchdowns. In Week 1, he only had two receptions for 22 yards.
With Dulcich out, the Broncos will activate running back Dwayne Washington off the practice squad for Sunday’s matchup against the Washington Commanders.
Dulcich Continues to Battle Injuries
The Broncos selected Dulcich in the third-round of the 2022 NFL Draft with the hopes that he would be a receiving threat to help Russell Wilson in the passing game.
That hasn’t necessarily been the case for Dulcich who has dealt with plenty of injuries during his tenure in a Broncos uniform.
The 23-year-old appeared in just 10 games last season as a rookie. A hamstring injury in training camp, sidelined Dulcich for the first five games of 2022. Another hamstring ended his rookie campaign after Week 16.
If Dulcich returns in four weeks as expected, he’ll have missed 11 games in his young career. He’s also played in just 11 games.
Denver’s Plan Moving Forward at TE
With Dulcich out, Denver’s top tight ends will be Adam Trautman, Nate Adkins, and Chris Manhertz. All three of the tight ends are considered “blocking tight ends” compared to “receiving tight ends.”
Before the regular season, the Broncos had another receiving tight end, but traded Albert Okwuegbunam to the Philadelphia Eagles for a sixth-round pick in 2025.
Trautman spent two seasons under Payton in New Orleans. Manhertz appeared in three games for Payton while with the Saints and is considered more of the blocking tight end to help in the run game.
It also appears that the Broncos really like Adkins, who is and undrafted rookie.
“The versatility, the toughness, the smarts,” Paton said in reference of Adkins. “He’s a football player. He’s a guy we had targeted throughout the process. We almost drafted him. It just didn’t fall. We didn’t have a lot of picks. We were really fortunate to get him as an undrafted free agent.”
The Broncos have not had an elite receiving tight end since Julius Thomas left the team after the 2014 season. In two full seasons with the Broncos, Thomas totaled up 24 touchdowns and 1,277 yards.
Since Thomas, the Broncos have yet to have a tight end record more than four touchdowns in a season.
In a struggling offense from a year ago with the worst scoring offense and an offense that scored just 16 points in Week 1, the Broncos have yet to find a tight end that can help quarterback Russell Wilson and head coach Sean Payton.