Vernon Davis: Denver Broncos’ Answer at TE?


On November 2nd, the Denver Broncos decided to trade for San Francisco 49ers’ tight end Vernon Davis. Can he bring offensive production to the tight end position for the Broncos?

Entering week eight of the NFL season, the Denver Broncos’ offense looked anemic, unable to move the ball effectively and efficiently. Under much scrutiny, Broncos’ head coach Gary Kubiak continues to use his offensive scheme, and it mainly involves two tight end sets. However, in week eight against the Green Bay Packers, the Denver Broncos’ offense came alive, producing over 500 yards worth of offense and trouncing the Packers by a score of 29-10. Shortly after their blowout win against the Packers, the Broncos traded for the two-time Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis.

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Vernon Davis spent the first ten seasons of his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers. Back in 2006, the 49ers selected Davis, out of the University of Maryland, as their first round pick (6th overall) in the NFL Draft. Davis earned two Pro Bowl selections as a member of the 49ers, nominated in 2009 and 2013. After the 2013 season, Davis’ production fell off the table as the 49ers stumbled from nearly winning a Super Bowl to being one of the worst teams in their division. With the 49ers in a near-rebuild mode, the team found that trading some of their key pieces will expedite the process.

Thus, the trade between the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers transpired. The Broncos dealt two sixth-round draft picks (2016 and 2017) for Vernon Davis and a 2016 seventh-round. The Broncos struggled to find production out of their tight ends this season; therefore, the trade for Davis looks to jumpstart offensive production from the tight end position. After Julius Thomas and Jacob Tamme left via free agency, the Broncos and coach Kubiak brought in Owen Daniels to fill the void; however, he failed to produce solid numbers during the first seven games of the season. 

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Through Daniels’ first seven games of the season, he accumulated an unimpressive 17 receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns. In addition to Daniels, Virgil Green remains absent from the offensive, contributing only six receptions for 99 yards and one touchdown. While Daniels’ best days are likely behind him, Green presents some solid upside in the upcoming seasons, but in the meantime, Vernon Davis can fill the void left by Julius Thomas.

Out of Vernon Davis’ 10-year career, he amassed 500 or more receiving yards in five seasons; furthermore, in four of those five seasons, he registered 790 or more receiving yards, with a career-high of 965 yards in 2009. Both Gary Kubiak and John Elway think that Vernon Davis will make an immediate impact going forward, and they hope he brings some stability to the tight end position. With the Denver Broncos having one of the best defenses in the NFL, not much is needed out of the tight end position, but improving the offense sets up the team for another Super Bowl run.

Vernon Davis noted that he feels the energy surrounding a Super Bowl caliber team, and he notices the synergy within the organization. On Wednesday, Davis completed his first round of team meetings and practice. Davis wants to make an immediate impact, and the Broncos want him to reach the playing field as soon as possible. By essentially landing Vernon Davis for a sixth-round pick, the Broncos found their starting tight end of the immediate future. Look for the Broncos to utilize two-tight end sets with Davis and Daniels.