Could the Broncos' offensive line be a strength in 2020?
The presumptive starting five for the Denver Broncos' offensive line is slated to be Garett Bolles at left tackle (hold the applause), Dalton Risner at left guard, rookie Lloyd Cushenberry at center, Graham Glasgow at right guard, and Ja'Wuan James at right tackle.
Contrary to popular opinion, Bolles has been an above-average left tackle with a high ceiling and certainly seemed to improve with Drew Lock's ability to move around.
Dalton Risner looked like a career starter in the making at left guard after being a staple as a rookie.
Cushenberry is thought to be an instant NFL starter at center shifting Glasgow back to his most natural position of right guard, and then we have Ja'Wuan James who, when healthy, brings Pro Bowl pedigree to the right tackle position.
The positional flexibility of Glasgow and Elijah Wilkinson as the 6th lineman provides reasonable depth.
According to Football Outsiders, the Broncos surrendered 41 sacks at a 25th ranked 8.1% sack rate. That points to leaky pass protection. However, Joe Flacco was sacked 26 times in 8 games (3.25 per game) and Brandon Allen nine times in three games (3.0 per).
Drew Lock avoided getting sacked
Drew Lock was sacked 5 times in 5 games. just once per game. The league-best Rams gave up 22 sacks (1.37 per) While the Super Bowl Champion Chiefs surrendered 25 (1.56 per)
Although there are many factors that contribute to how many times a QB ends up in the dirt, the limited numbers show that the coaches, the offensive line, and Drew Lock made it happen far less frequently late last season.
The top 10 lowest sack rates produced five playoff teams and seven QB's to throw for at least 4,000 yards. Exceptions being the injured Drew Brees, dual-threat Lamar Jackson, and bridge QB Jacoby Brissett.
So if Denver can maintain even a median rate of what it was able to do over the last 5 games, extrapolate that over a 16-game season of keeping Drew Lock upright. The numbers seem to favor a much improved season for the offense.
The Broncos could surrender over two sacks per game and still crack that top 10. So health is the biggest denominator but with the additions Denver made in the offseason and a return to health for James, along with the continued health of this unit could propel the Denver offense to a new level that my previous posts talk about them achieving.