Previewing the offensive tackle position for the Denver Broncos, where questions abound about Garett Bolles’ improvement and Jared Veldheer’s health…
Since Ryan Clady’s injury early in the Denver Broncos’ historic 2013 season, the offensive tackle position in Denver has been a revolving door.
That season, Chris Clark and Orlando Franklin were the team’s solution, but the Broncos have not had the same bookend tackles in back-to-back seasons since Clady and Franklin appeared to be the pairing of the future back in 2011-12.
Because of the lack of continuity, the Broncos decided to invest some significant draft capital and finances into the position, and since 2014 have used picks in the first, second, and third rounds on tackles in addition to spending a ton of money to try and rectify the position in free agency.
In 2014, the Broncos’ tackle combination was supposed to be Clady and Franklin again before injuries forced them to use a variety of players at different positions.
In 2015, the Broncos let Clady go and Franklin bolted for the Chargers, and they were replaced by Ryan Harris and Michael Schofield after rookie second-round pick Ty Sambrailo went down with an injury early in the season.
That was the combination that helped the Broncos win Super Bowl 50.
In 2016, the Broncos signed Russell Okung and Donald Stephenson to be their bookend tackles, and that experiment failed miserably.
After seeing (mostly) poor tackle play for three straight seasons, the Broncos took matters into their own hands, drafting Utah’s Garett Bolles in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. They paired him with free agent Menelik Watson, whose injury issues flared up in Denver.
After another revolving door in 2017, the Broncos decided to trade for a reliable veteran in Jared Veldheer, in hopes that he could provide some stability on the opposite side of the field from Bolles.
On paper, the Broncos’ tackle position appears the best it’s been since the start of the 2013 season when Ryan Clady was healthy and Orlando Franklin was playing great football.
Here’s a more in-depth look at the players that make up the tackle position for the Broncos, both on the left and right side.