What, A.J. Derby wasn’t enough?
The Denver Broncos may not have made a trade Tuesday when the 2 p.m. league deadline for such transactions expired, but they did swing a deal last week when they acquired the tight end Derby from New England in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft.
As NFL trading deadline deals go, a fifth-round draft pick is substantial.
There wasn’t enough time for Derby to catch up on the Broncos’ playbook or practice reps last week to suit up for their 27-19 win Sunday against San Diego. But there is hope Derby will be ready to get in a few snaps for the Broncos’ AFC West, first-place showdown against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday night at Oakland.
A former quarterback, Derby is primarily a receiving-type tight end. The Broncos could use a boost in their passing game as they rank 31st in the 32-team league with a 76.3 passer rating. (Trevor Siemian, who has played in 6 ½ of the eight Broncos’ games, ranks 24th among individual quarterbacks with an 87.1 rating).
As for other positions of need, the Broncos considered fortifying their defensive line depth as they rank 24th in the league with 117.4 yards allowed per game – a substantial drop-off from last year’s Super Bowl-winning defense that ranked No. 3 against the run with 83.6 yards allowed per game.
And there has to be concern about the running back position now that C.J. Anderson is on injured reserve and rookie replacement Devontae Booker suffered a banged up shoulder against the Chargers.
Booker is expected to play Sunday at Oakland although he may miss some practice time during the week.