3 Denver Broncos who must step up in 2023 season

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3. Lloyd Cushenberry III, Center

Perhaps the most important player on this list, Lloyd Cushenberry III is entering what is likely the most important season of his career. While the Broncos brought in other centers such as Kyle Fuller and seventh-round pick Alex Forsyth, the starting center position is almost guaranteed to be Cushenberry’s. 

Denver spent big money in free agency on the offensive line, acquiring guard Ben Powers and offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey, all in an effort to protect Russell Wilson and improve the run game. However, if Cushenberry underperforms and finishes in the bottom ten in most advanced metrics as he did last season, then the new offensive line will be comparable to a bullet train running on a coal engine: It may be shiny, but it will not perform. 

Out of 36 eligible players, Cushenberry graded out as the 32nd worst performing center in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. Despite this, Sean Payton views the former third round pick from LSU as a starting-caliber center. 

Under the guidance of new offensive line coach Zach Strief, Cushenberry will have to step up fast in an offense that figures to be run-heavy, something that the Tiger product has struggled with throughout his career. A failure to improve from previous seasons will certainly signal the end of Cushenberry’s time in Denver. 

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