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Richard Quinn: Denver Broncos' Newest Tight End Has High Hopes, Realistic Goals

Sayre BedingerSenior Writer IJune 11, 2009

ENGLEWOOD, CO - MAY 03:  Richard Quinn #81 participates in practice at the Denver Broncos Minicamp at the Broncos training facility on May 3, 2009 in Englewood, Colorado. Quinn was a second round 2009 draft pick.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

When the Denver Broncos obtained the final pick of the first day of the 2009 NFL Draft from the Pittsburgh Steelers, many expected the Josh McDaniels regime to go with a defensive player.

Instead, he shocked nearly every Broncos fan by selecting little known tight end Richard Quinn out of North Carolina.

Quinn was rated behind Brandon Pettigrew as the best blocking tight end in the draft, but as we all know, blocking is not the most appealing attribute for a tight-end prospect at this level.

Still, the Broncos were in need of depth at this position. Behind veteran Daniel Graham are Tony Scheffler, Jeb Putzier, and now Richard Quinn, who will likely assume the third tight end duties.

Many Broncos fans were upset with the selection of Quinn, as a third tight end was not very high on the wish list of a fan base that saw arguably the worst defensive performance in franchise history in 2008.

Now that the draft has passed and the dust has settled, the drafting of Quinn is shaping out to be one of the more intriguing moves the Broncos have made this offseason. 

Even when he first arrived in Denver, Quinn told the press he was shocked the Broncos called his number on day one of the draft, and that he was expecting to go somewhere in the third to fifth rounds.

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McDaniels made it very clear that he did not care when a player was "supposed" to be drafted and went out and got his man regardless. 

Quinn was the fifth pick on the first day for the Denver Broncos and the second offensive player selected.

While he is known mainly for his blocking skills, the former Tar Heel really impressed scouts with his pass-catching abilities during offseason workouts and could be a very valuable asset in the red zone, an area in which the Broncos struggled to convert in 2008.

"Oh yeah. I make sure I try to take advantage of every opportunity when the ball comes my way," Quinn said.

Many seem to forget that as bad as Denver was on defense last year, their second ranked offense in terms of yardage struggled to put points on the board, finishing just 16th in the NFL in scoring offense.

With the additions of players like Jabar Gaffney, Knowshon Moreno, Blake Schlueter, LaMont Jordan, and now Quinn, the Broncos appear to have a group that can be effective in the red zone.

While the experience of the NFL was surreal at first, Quinn said he now realizes that it is time to get to work, and as a second-round pick, he needs to learn quickly.

"[The NFL] is just very, very fast. I'm just trying to keep up with the speed of the game—knowing what to do when you're on the line—just kind of process everything and know what you have to do when you get on the ball," Quinn said.

When he was drafted, Quinn jumped out to many as a guy who compares very favorably to current Broncos tight end Daniel Graham. It only seems fitting that Graham would be a great mentor for the youngster.

"Daniel Graham has been taking me a little bit, after a play he will pull me to the side and tell me what I should have done better on that play," Quinn said.

"[He gives] me little hints and tips to not make the same mistakes on the next play.  Daniel Graham is a good leader, good guy. I really respect him a lot."

Quinn also believes the depth the Broncos have at tight end has been a big help for not only him, but everyone else at his position.

"We've got some very talented guys out there on the field. Guys running around, making plays. It's exciting to watch," Quinn said.

"We're getting better everyday...I always try to pay attention to what the veteran guys are doing at first so when it's time for me to go up, I know exactly what to do: try to minimize all my mistakes as much as possible."

While Quinn's contributions may go largely unnoticed in 2009, the second-round pick will not disappoint Bronco fans. His blocking and pass-catching abilities in the red zone should bring instant impact to this team's offense.

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