4. Luke Wattenberg, offensive line
There's been a lot of attention given this offseason to Denver Broncos rookie center Alex Forsyth, and understandably so. Many in the fan base were looking for literally any addition at the center position, and were ready to jump at the opportunity to crown that player the next potential starter almost no matter what.
Forsyth, a seventh-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, is an intriguing option. But we shouldn't be so quick to forget about Luke Wattenberg. Wattenberg was a 5th-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and I think a mixture of circumstances left a bad taste in everyone's mouth last year regarding his rookie season.
First of all, offensive line coach Butch Barry was horrendous. He did nobody on the offensive line any favors. Second, Wattenberg was thrust into action against Chris Jones and the Chiefs for his first NFL action. That went predictably and you can't really blame him for not being a stone wall immediately.
Everyone on the offensive line is getting a clean slate for 2023, and the clearest evidence of that is Lloyd Cushenberry III basically being handed the starting center job without much resistance in the form of offseason acquisitions. But Wattenberg is an intriguing candidate to jump into the mix.
He had one of the best athletic scores of any Denver Broncos rookie last year, and when you look closely at his metrics, you'll note something rather rare for the center position. Wattenberg has longer than 34-inch arms, which is more typical of offensive tackles than interior linemen. Typical interior linemen are squatty and have shorter arms, but Wattenberg's length is a trait that Sean Payton has coveted through the years in all of his offensive linemen, but particularly on the interior.
It seems like Wattenberg is on the bubble, but don't be shocked if he ends up in the rotation sooner than later either.