Assessing the Denver Broncos offensive line pre-draft

Sayre Bedinger
Dec 18, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos offensive guard Max Garcia (76) in the first quarter against the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos offensive guard Max Garcia (76) in the first quarter against the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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Aug 27, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos offensive guard Connor McGovern (60) and quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) at the line of scrimmage during the second half of a preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Rams 17-9. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 27, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos offensive guard Connor McGovern (60) and quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) at the line of scrimmage during the second half of a preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Rams 17-9. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

If I were putting together a projection for the first team offensive line at the Broncos’ first offensive install, it would probably look like this from left to right:

Donald Stephenson, Ronald Leary, Max Garcia (with Paradis recovering), Michael Schofield, and Menelik Watson. The second team line will probably look like this:

Ty Sambrailo, Billy Turner, Brian Ferentz, Connor McGovern, Justin Murray.

It’s clear the Broncos need some upgrades on the offensive line, specifically at tackle, but where are those upgrades coming from? They will have to get creative in the draft, as the players available to them are not locks to be instant starters.

They can look to the free agent market, but that’s not a sure thing, either.

They can look to make a trade for a veteran, but will the cost be prohibitive?

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The last option is to find an in-house option and try and find a tackle to develop. I think the Broncos are set at center and guard, and they have given themselves a number of options at the tackle positions but I don’t think the right combination is listed above just yet.

Ultimately, would you be comfortable with this as your starting offensive line?

Rookie – Ronald Leary – Matt Paradis – Max Garcia – Menelik Watson?

It can’t get much worse than last year’s group, that’s for sure. The scheme change and addition of Jeff Davidson to the coaching staff should work wonders for the Broncos. Instead of forcing players to fit to a scheme, they will fit the scheme to the players at their disposal.

That means, we will likely not see Donald Stephenson or Ty Sambrailo rotating at tackle within a game just so one player can get reps. The best players will play, period.

I think, whether it’s delusional or not, a scheme change will do wonders for the Broncos, and players will be able to play in an offense that fits their strengths. If by some act of God Ty Sambrailo is able to resurrect the player the Broncos had in 2015 before his injuries, the idea of him at left tackle and Leary, Paradis, Garcia, and Watson also starting isn’t terrible to me.

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