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How Troy Fumagalli fits with the Denver Broncos

Our Q&A with Mile High Report

NCAA Football: Utah State at Wisconsin Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Another Wisconsin Badgers walk-on heard his name called in an NFL Draft, as the Denver Broncos selected tight end Troy Fumagalli in the fifth round a couple of weekends ago.

Fumagalli joins a list of recent walk-ons, including former teammates Joe Schobert, Jared Abbrederis and (later during the 2018 NFL Draft) Jack Cichy as those who came to Wisconsin without a scholarship only to be drafted to an NFL franchise.

After leading the team in receptions last season (46) and playing in 52 games overall during his Wisconsin career, he now heads to the storied AFC West organization with a familiar face in the position room in former teammate Austin Traylor.

Mile High Report’s Tim Lynch gave his thoughts on the selection of Fumagalli and what the All-American and All-Big Ten honoree could potentially expect with the Broncos.

What was the general feeling overall about the Broncos’ draft, and specifically about the selection of Fumagalli in the fifth round?

As fans, everyone wants to say the draft was great. However, year after year, non-Broncos fan analysts have not been kind to Bronco drafts. This year was different, which makes me feel a heck of a lot better. The Broncos also skipped out on picking up a veteran tight end, so Fumagalli will get every opportunity to push other recently drafted tight ends Jake Butt and Jeff Heuerman.

Does Fumagalli help fill a need at tight end for Denver, and have the coaches discussed how they plan to use him?

He better. As I mentioned, the tight end position has a total of like two starts between all of them. The Broncos are rolling the dice here, but they have quite a few young, smart players competing so we’ll just have to see how it works out.

Looking at the roster, there are currently six tight ends, including Fumagalli and former Badger Austin Traylor. For that matter, five of the six are from Big Ten’s schools--including Butt (Michigan), Heuerman (Ohio State) and Matt LaCosse (Illinois). Sizing up that position group, who will he be in main competition with for reps during training camp and the preseason?

Traylor is the big time blocking tight end for the Broncos right now, but by “big time” I mean “only”. Butt and Heuerman figure to compete for the passing down formations, so it might be the two former Badgers who are competing for more blocking sets. I’m not sure how Matt LaCosse will figure in. He’ll likely be the odd man out. The Broncos do prefer to give their draft picks roster preference.

Way-too-early thoughts, but do you see Fumagalli making the active roster, and what factors could come into play in this?

Absolutely. He’d have to be especially bad to get cut his rookie year. The Broncos really like to hold onto their draft picks for as long as possible. Fumagalli will get plenty of opportunities to make a name for himself on this team. Looking forward to seeing him in training camp!