According to Mike Klis of 9News, the Denver Broncos’ top two priorities in free agency this coming year are Dre’Mont Jones and Dalton Risner. The 2019 draft class is entering a contract year. Both Dre’Mont Jones and Dalton Risner have played significant snaps for the Broncos since being drafted.
Jones has turned into one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. Risner was very solid during his rookie season, but has regressed since. According to Mike Klis of 9News, these two are the Denver Broncos’ top priorities.
Jones being a priority makes plenty of sense. He’s on pace for double digit sacks this year and is a menace as a pass rusher and run defender. He has the most sacks on the team now that Bradley Chubb has been traded. Even though the rush defense has regressed, Jones’ place on the defensive line is apparent.
The confusing part of this to me is wanting to prioritize Dalton Risner. The Denver Broncos offensive line has been a bit underwhelming the past couple seasons. Risner’s 2019 rookie season was quite good and it seemed like Denver had found a foundational piece along the offensive line.
However, the past few seasons have not been kind to Risner and it’s clear that he is a weak link for the Broncos. He is fine as a run blocker, but he simply cannot consistently sustain blocks, has incredibly slow feet, and gets beaten quite a bit.
It seems that he struggles with some of the most important parts of being a lineman–the actual blocking.
I’m not an X’s or O’s guy, but it doesn’t take a football savant to identify the weak links along the Broncos’ offensive line. Lloyd Cushenberry is one of them and Dalton Risner is another culprit. Moreover, the guard position is not nearly as valuable to an offensive line as ensuring the team has two quality tackles.
Given Risner’s performances in his four years with the Broncos, I’d be shocked if there weren’t several noticeable upgrades in free agency that Denver could sign, perhaps for a similar amount of money.
To me, it’s not so much about paying a player as it is paying the wrong player. Dalton Risner is a hometown kid and appears to be well-liked by the team and the fanbase, but his play as a guard is nothing worth re-signing.