Right Tackle Remains a Mystery for Denver Broncos


Dec 8, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos tackle Winston Justice (77) in the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

When the Broncos let Zane Beadles walk in free agency, the solution was simple — move Orlando Franklin to left guard and put Chris Clark in as the right tackle after his solid year in relief of Ryan Clady.

Apparently, it’s not as easy as that.

While Clark still appears the favorite to win the job, the Broncos used their third round pick this year on Michigan offensive tackle Michael Schofield, and re-signed journeyman Winston Justice. They also showed confidence in 2013 sixth round pick Vinston Painter by preventing him from going to San Francisco near the end of last season.

With three legitimate options to start and one dark horse, the Broncos seemingly are no closer to identifying their starting right tackle now than they were a few months ago when Beadles left for the Jaguars and Franklin was moved to guard.

At minicamp, the Broncos rotated both Justice and Clark in at the right tackle spot with the starting unit. Denver needs to be able to hold up in pass protection, but perhaps they view Justice as a better run blocking option than Clark. Now that the veteran has had a chance to be in the system for awhile, he has a chance to also compete for a starting job at a spot that is seemingly wide open.

And then there’s Schofield. The Broncos didn’t use a third round pick on him to be a backup for his whole career, but he’ll certainly be given time to grow into the offense.

It will all come down to pre-season play and training camp performance. The Broncos need to see these guys in pads to make any sort of legitimate decision at the position, and getting this kind of competition can only mean that whoever wins the job is going to have battled for it.