The Denver Broncos continue to retool their offense after drafting Wisconsin tight end Troy Fumagalli with the 156th pick.
With two scheduled picks in the fifth round but none in the sixth or seventh rounds, the Broncos traded down spinning their 149 into Seattle’s 156, and their seventh-round pick at 226.
Badgers captain Fumagalli joins a wealth of Big Ten talent on the Broncos roster with fellow Badger Austin Traylor, Ohio State product Jeff Heuerman and Michigan’s Jake Butt waiting for him in Denver’s tight end room.
And Broncos tight ends coach Geep Chryst — a Wisconsin native — will have easy access to a wealth of information on his new addition from his brother Paul, who was Fumagalli’s head coach at Wisconsin.
Fumagalli is also the third player the Broncos have drafted from the 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl after cornerback Isaac Yiadom and wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, who were also on the North team coached by the Broncos staff.
Not considered one of the more athletic tight ends, but Fumagalli puts his 6-5, 245-pound frame to good use in the passing game, hauling in 93 receptions for 1,127 yards and six touchdowns in his final two seasons.
What he lacks in athletic aesthetics teams often look for, Fumagalli more than makes up for in strength and determination.
His blocking has improved, but still has room to get better, which could be crucial if the Broncos use him to help protect quarterback Case Keenum following the departure of veteran blocker Virgil Green in free agency and the possibility that fullback Andy Janovich might not make the 53-man roster.
The Broncos have now drafted five players off the Pro Football Focus 2018 Big Board, where Fumagalli was ranked 95th.
Fumagalli had his left index finger amputated as a child after he was born with amniotic band syndrome, but that hasn’t impacted his ability to make an impact as a pass-catching tight end.
He saw a notable jump between his sophomore and junior years, and had the highest overall grade among Big Ten tight ends by Pro Football Focus in 2016.
He was named Big Ten tight end of the year in 2017, first-team All-Big Ten in 2017, and offensive MVP at the 2017 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, finishing with six receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown as the Badgers defeated the Western Michigan Broncos 24-16.
In a bid to acquire more draft capital, the Broncos have traded their fifth-round pick at 160 to the Los Angeles Rams for two sixth-round picks at 183 and 217.
The Broncos had acquired the 160th pick in a trade that saw cornerback Aqib Talib join the Rams earlier in the offseason.