(CBS4) – With the Denver Broncos training camp underway, let’s take a look at how the Broncos are stacked on the offensive line.
In the Hunt:
Lloyd Cusenberry III, rookie
Patrick Morris, 2nd season
Netane Muti, rookie
Dalton Risner, 2nd season
Graham Glasgow, 5th season
Tyler Jones, 1st season
Austin Schlottmann, 2nd season
Calvin Anderson, 2nd season
Quinn Bailey, 1st season
Garett. Bolles, 4th season
Ju’Wuan James, 7th season
Jake Rodgers, 2nd season
Elijah Wilkerson, 4th season
Top Offseason Moves: Signed Graham Glasglow to four-year, $44 million deal, drafted Lloyd Cusenberry III (3rd round) and Netane Muti (6th round), and released Ron Leary.
Projected Starters: Garett Bolles, Dalton Risner, Lloyd Cusenberry III, Graham Glasgow, Ju’Wuan James
With Ron Leary gone from the offensive line, Denver signed former Detroit Lions versatile guard Graham Glasgow to replace him up front. Dalton Risner had a solid rookie season and was named to the Pro Football Writers of America’s 2019 All-Rookie Team.
Ju’Waun James returns as the right tackle after an injury filled first season with the team where he only played three games and 63 total snaps.
The Broncos went into the draft and picked up Lloyd Cusenberry III from LSU in the third round. He will battle Patrick Morris will battle for the starting center position. But the biggest position battle will be at left tackle between Garett Bolles and Elijah Wilkerson.
Reserves: Austin Schlottmann, Elijah Wilkerson, Netane Muli, Jake Rodgers
Elijah Wilkerson saw plenty of playing time last season starting in 12 games at right tackle in place for Ju’Waun James. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed ten sacks, which were the fourth most of any tackle last season. Wilkerson can play tackle or guard.
Austin Schlottmann started four games at right guard and is a valuable reserve on the offensive line.
Netane Muli was the Broncos sixth-round pick from Fresno State. He dropped in the draft due to his injury filled college career but he has plenty of strength as he once benched 550 pounds in college.
Jake Rodgers has a great shot at making the final roster if Denver decides to keep an extra tackle. Rodgers started the final game of last season against the Oakland Raiders.
Best Training Camp Battle: Garett Bolles vs Elijah Wilkerson
This is the biggest training camp battle going into training camp and the outcome of this could be the difference between the Broncos making the playoffs or missing out for the fifth consecutive season.
Let’s be honest, the main reason why this is a battle has to do with Garett Bolles struggles with holding penalties. According to STATS LLC, Bolles committed 10 penalties last season and six of those were holding penalties. He also allowed four sacks and the Broncos declined his fifth-year option as a result.
Elijah Wilkerson saw plenty of playing time last season, playing in 15 games and starting in 12 contests. He allowed ten sacks, which were the fourth most of any tackle last season, according to Pro Football Focus, and committed four holding penalties.
Without preseason games, offensive line coach Mike Munchak and head coach Vic Fangio will keep a keen eye on this battle.
Under the Radar: Battle for starting center position
Lloyd Cusenberry III is penciled in as the starter but keep an eye on Patrick Morris who was a late pick up for the Broncos last season.
Stats to Know:
– Broncos allowed 41 sacks (Tied for 16th in NFL)
What They Said: John Elway on left tackle competition
“As Vic (Fangio) said, it’ll be an open competition at the left tackle with Eli Wilkinson and Garett Bolles. We just didn’t feel like we were in a situation to where we could add to that. I think with where we were and what our game plan was, the tackle never fell for us as far as something we thought that there was a player there that could help us at that position. We still feel like we can be very competitive with the tackle situation that we have and the open competition. The best player is going to play.”
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