Denver Broncos general manager John Elway tweeted out that he and the club’s executive staff were “holding (their) breath)” at the end of the fourth-round Saturday afternoon in hopes that Michigan tight end Jake Butt would fall to them.
He did, becoming the first pick of the fifth-round Saturday — No. 145 overall.
“Jake falling to the fifth, we were fortunate he was there,” Elway said. “The tight end position we thought was probably a position of need for us, and plus with Jake’s injury, that pushed him down.
“We were very fortunate to get him that far in the fifth round, so we’re excited about that to be able to get him.”
And that feeling of excitement appears to be mutual.
“It felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. It was tough to breathe there,” Butt told a group of media at UCHealth Training Center via phone Saturday. “I was just waiting and waiting for that phone to ring. Anytime my phone vibrated, I’m just waiting to see where I’m going to end up, and I got on the phone with a couple of people.
“I talked with John Elway, and it was like a dream come true.”
A consensus first- or second-round talent coming out of college, Butt likely fell as far as he did in the draft because of a torn ACL suffered during the Orange Bowl in December.
“If he wasn’t hurt, he would’ve been a top two-round guy,” head coach Vance Joseph said Saturday. “As an end-line blocker, he’s very efficient. He’s got great ball skills and is a great route runner. He was awesome in the red zone for Michigan the last two or three years, so yes, absolutely he can be a Y or a move guy for you. That makes him valuable.”
But playing in that final game of his collegiate career isn’t something Butt said he regrets.
“I don’t play football because of the money or the fame or the hype or anything. I play football because it’s what I love to do. I was dedicated to my team at Michigan. I’m going to be a dedicated Denver Bronco, and it’s never going to cross my mind to sit out of a game because of money or any other possibility,” Butt said.
“I’m out there and I’m going to give it my all every time I step on that field. I still have absolutely no regrets, and again, I’m just happy it worked out like this because I’m a Denver Bronco.”
As for when Broncos fans might actually see Butt in orange and blue, Elway said the club though August or September for a return.
Butt called that timeframe ambitious, but he’s “always been ambitious.”
“… When I tore my ACL the first time around, they told me, ‘You’re probably going to get redshirted or you won’t play until Big Ten season.’ I said, ‘You know what, you guys can think that.’ I ended up playing in week two, so I’ve always been ambitious,” Butt said.
“I think that’s what helps me unlock my full potential, setting goals that many people might think are crazy and then going out there and doing it.”
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.