The Denver Broncos, high on their offseason addition of quarterback Russell Wilson, have struggled to find offensive consistency in 2022.
In week one against the Seattle Seahawks, the Broncos failed to surpass 16 points on the day. Russell Wilson, playing against a team he played with for 10 seasons, threw just one touchdown despite having over 300 passing yards on the day.
The Broncos eventually fell 17-16 to the Seahawks. In short, touchdowns were a premium for the Broncos in week one.
Following their week one loss to the Seahawks, the Broncos faced off against the Houston Texans, a team that has struggled to find much defensive consistency this season.
Despite that, the Texans were able to hold the Broncos to just six points through three-quarters of play. With straights running dire, Russell Wilson and the Broncos looked towards former Drake University tight end Eric Saubert for a game-winning 22-yard touchdown.
Head coach Nathaniel Hackett spoke on the tight end versatility in Denver after the game in a postgame press conference, pointing towards the benefits of having tight ends that can catch the ball downfield.
“They can all run down the field, they can all catch, so having that kind of flexibility to add to your system, it’s good to be able to add those personnel to your system,” Hackett said.
Wilson spoke specifically on Saubert’s game-winning play, giving him credit for making the big play when they needed it.
“We got to move the ball and score a big touchdown, and sure enough [Saubert] opens up there for a great catch, contested catch, we weren’t making those necessarily early in the game and he makes that great catch and that’s the difference in the game,” Wilson said.
Thus far, Saubert has failed to break out as a pass-catching tight end in the NFL, recording just 19 receptions and several separate rosters through his career.
At Drake University, Saubert was a standout to say the least. In his final year at Drake in 2016, Saubert earned his fourth All-PFL accolade of his career after being named First-Team PFL. He also ranked 19th in the nation in the touchdown receptions category.
It isn’t a stretch to say that Saubert failed to live up to the hype out of college. His performances on the collegiate level led to him being chosen in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons, but it didn’t take long for him to move teams.
In his 2021 season with the Broncos, Saubert recorded career highs in games played with 17, catches with eight, and yards with 47 along with hauling in his first career touchdown pass.
This early touchdown in 2022 could mean more red zone opportunities for Saubert and an overall improvement in offensive utilization.
Saubert was a Drake University star, and his stardom carried over to the Broncos’ defeat of the Houston Texans in week two.