Albert Okwuegbunam has shown flashes of being an impact receiving tight end to date in his tenure with the Denver Broncos. However, it seems like for the second year in a row, Okwuegbunam’s strengths haven’t been given a chance to flourish as the Broncos offense has struggled.

Albert Okwuegbunam receiving trade interest?

National NFL reporter Aaron Wilson reported on Thursday that various teams from around the league could have interest in trading for Albert Okwuegbunam as the trade deadline approaches.

As Aaron pointed out, Albert O’s rate of usage in Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett’s offense has decreased rapidly which is puzzling considering the third-year tight end’s strength ideally should be utilized within the offensive system.

Okwuegbunam is not the Broncos best blocking tight end, nor is he a traditional in-line option. In training camp, he was utilized as a big slot and offset as a wing from time to time. While Eric Saubert, Andrew Beck, and Eric Tomlinson’s strengths are well suited for pass protection and run blocking, Denver’s offense needs explosive plays more consistently.

The third-year tight end’s best strength is stretching the field vertically and across the middle of the field. Pat Shurmur’s offense failed to do this very thing with Okwuegbunam last season. While it’s important he improves as a blocker, his explosive ability is something that has been missing for the Broncos this season.

In Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks, Okwuegbunam showcased great effort where he caught several short passes on third and fourth down situations and fought for extra yardage to keep Denver’s drives alive. He finished the Seahawks game with five catches for 33 yards on six total targets. Since then, Okwuegbunam has only seen five targets since and was a clean scratch against the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football.

It’s been well documented how bad the Broncos offense has struggled, but coming into the year, Nathaniel Hacket emphasized that the offense would be designed around what their players do well. In Albert O’s case, Broncos fans have not seen that. He’s been involved on 122 offensive snaps (36%) out of 396 total.

Rookie tight end Greg Dulcich’s return to the offense certainly appeared to be the explanation for why Okwuegbunam was a healthy scratch on Monday Night Football. Dulcich’s strength within the offense is utilizing his explosiveness and route running ability which was displayed in Monday’s loss to the Chargers.

The Broncos rookie finished the game with two catches for 44 yards and a receiving touchdown on three total targets, and was open several times but wasn’t thrown to. From a blocking standpoint, Dulcich is still evolving in this department and is getting acclimated to Hackett’s offense. There’s no arguing that Dulcich adds a wrinkle within Denver’s offense, but both he and Okwuegbunam give the unit a chance to be creative with personnel.

It will be interesting to see whether or not Okwuegbunam is active this Sunday when the Denver Broncos (2-4) host the New York Jets (4-2) at Empower Field at Mile High.