Broncos Camp: Ryan Harris will be major factor for OL


When Denver Broncos left tackle and Pro Bowler Ryan Clady went down at OTAs with a major knee injury, the unit was left with far more questions than answers as it was apparent that only Louis Vasquez would be a returning starter in 2015.

The Broncos acted quickly following Clady’s injury, signing right tackle Ryan Harris to a free agent contract, reuniting him with the team that originally drafted him and coaches that he was familiar with.

As we transition to the regular season, perhaps no offseason move will prove more critical than Harris signing amid OTAs. Not only does he know the system, but Harris is a pretty darn good player. He’s not mind-blowing when it comes to the way he plays, but he’s started a lot of games in the NFL and gives the Broncos some peace of mind on an offensive line that head coach Gary Kubiak says is going to be ‘young’.

Kubiak spoke to the importance of having a player like Harris on the offensive line Friday.

“It’s very important. First off, you get Ryan signed. Ryan was the best guy available out there and there [were] a lot of teams kind of going through the same things. Tackles are hard to find. Fortunately, me [OC Rick] Rico [Dennison], [OL coach] Clancy [Barone]—we all had relationships with Ryan.

When we had the thing happen to Ryan [Clady], for us to get right on top of getting Ryan Harris in here—boy, it looks bigger each and every day. [I’m] just proud of him. He’s come back. He’s hungry. I know he’s got some good time left in him. He’s taking advantage of it.”

I don’t know how you read that series of statements there by Kubiak, but it certainly sounds like he’s found his starting right tackle despite some competition from Chris Clark and Michael Schofield, each of whom have been practicing on the left and right side.

It seems that as of right now, Kubiak is most comfortable having Harris man the right side while rookie Ty Sambrailo continues to improve and play the left tackle position.

It’s a career that has come full circle for Harris, who was a third round pick of the Broncos back in 2007 out of Notre Dame. When Kubiak says he’s ‘come back’ that could mean a lot of different things in the case of Harris, who has had his share of injuries as well as a literal return to the Broncos. Drafted one year prior to Clady coming to Denver, the Broncos appeared to have their bookends of the future with Clady and Harris and now, the latter has been called upon to replace the former.

Ryan Clady is out for this season, and ironically, it might be Ryan Harris helping coach Kubiak sleep better at night, knowing he’s got the right tackle spot in good, familiar hands.

Next: Broncos RB Montee Ball working hard to regain top form