Jan 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos guard Louis Vasquez (65) against the New England Patriots during the 2013 AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
As Denver Broncos minicamp comes to a close, it’s time to start taking a more in-depth look at the players competing for roster spots. Today’s subject: The offensive guards.
Last year, the Broncos had a 1st-team All-Pro at offensive guard in Louis Vasquez, the team’s premiere free agent signing formerly of the San Diego Chargers.
Vasquez proved to be worth his weight in gold, and was the Broncos’ most consistently dominant lineman a year ago. The guard position is also seeing quite a bit of change with Zane Beadles off to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Orlando Franklin kicking over from his right tackle spot.
This position doesn’t feature a ton of players but some good competition for backup spots and intriguing scenarios as camp unfolds.
65 – Louis Vasquez (6th season, Age 27)
Vasquez was a first-team All-Pro last season. He is arguably the best guard in all of football. The Broncos are very fortunate to have him.
What else needs to be said?
This was one of the best free agent pickups the Broncos have made, and they’ve made some good ones since Elway has come aboard. Vasquez said earlier this offseason that he still feels like he can improve some things in his game, so we’ll hopefully be seeing him continue to dominate in 2014.
74 – Orlando Franklin (4th season, Age 26)
Franklin is moving to left guard, at least for the start of camp, from his original right tackle position. Coming out of Miami, many scouts felt like Franklin would be best served in a ‘phone booth’ situation, meaning playing offensive guard. He played guard some at Miami, so he has some experience, but entering his fourth year in the NFL, it’ll be like starting from scratch.
Franklin is also in a contract year, so he’s motivated to get a new deal.
63 – Ben Garland (5th season, Age 26)
Garland is one of the coolest stories on the Broncos’ roster. He was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Air Force in 2010, and served his time with the military before joining the Broncos again. He’s managed to stick on the roster in some way, shape, or form through both the Josh McDaniels era as well as the entire John Elway era.
What Garland provides off the field has been more valuable to the Denver community than anything he could ever do on it, but this year he hopes to compete for that left guard spot after starting his career off as a defensive lineman.
Garland has been willing to do whatever it takes to make the team. This could finally be the year he makes it happen.
73 – Ryan Miller (3rd season, Age 24)
A former Colorado Buffaloes star, Miller joins the Broncos after having spent time with the Cleveland Browns, the team that drafted him. Miller was drafted by Tom Heckert, former Browns GM who is now in the Broncos’ front office.
He has versatility as a guard/tackle type and will be an intriguing young prospect to watch in camp and the pre-season.
The Broncos have a few guys who can play guard if need be. Michael Schofield was drafted to play right tackle, but the team believes he can also play guard. Manny Ramirez used to play guard, and so can fellow center Will Montgomery. The Broncos also list undrafted rookie Aslam Sterling as an “OL” so he wasn’t given a strict OT designation, but that could just be nothing.
Either way, the Broncos aren’t overly deep at guard but they have a lot of options. Isn’t that weird? There are a a lot of things they can try but nothing concrete at this point in terms of what they’ll be getting at the LG position.