2017 Broncos Season, Offensive Line

We're just five days away from the Broncos' pre-season opener. Today I continue my pre-season look at position groups with the most important group on the team, the offensive line.

On the Roster:
* Matt Paradis
* Garrett Boles (Rookie)
* Ronald Leary
* Michael Schofield
* Max Garcia
* Ty Sambraillo
* Menelik Watson
* Donald Stephenson
* Dillon Day
* Allen Barbre
* Connor McGovern
* Billy Turner
* Cameron Hunt (Rookie)
* Justin Murray
* Elijah Wilkinson (Rookie)

A Look at 2016: This was not a great unit in 2016. Free agent signings of Stephenson and Russell Okung turned out not to be the answer. The team struggled to block, both for running and for the quarterback. In fact, while Okung graded out as average, Stephenson graded out as the worst right tackle in the league. That's not optimistic. This is a unit that failed Denver in 2016, and for the offense to get right it can't fail in 2017. And this is despite having the best center in the league, in Paradis, who played on two bad wheels in 2016.

What Changes in 2017: So much is changing in 2017. The Broncos have new coaches and a new offensive scheme, which should help. Denver also made plenty of moves at offensive line. The Broncos signed Leary from the Cowboys, who is an instant upgrade at guard. They also signed Watson, who projects to possibly be the answer at right tackle. But the Broncos weren't done. They drafted Boles with a first round pick, hoping he'll be the answer at left tackle. Finally, after starting camp, the Broncos went out and traded for Barbre from the Eagles, hoping he might be the answer at the other guard spot with Garcia struggling.

Who Makes The Roster: This is THE question. The Broncos kept eight last year, but given some uncertainty, I think they most likely need to keep nine in 2017. Boles, Paradis, Watson, Garcia and Leary seem like locks for the roster. That leaves 10 guys competing for four spots. This will be a unit with some difficult decisions. I think Barbre makes the final group, and may even start over Garcia. I also like Schofield, who can play tackle or guard, to make the roster. Sambraillo, is also likely a lock for the final roster spot. Given the injury history for Paradis, I think the Broncos may want a back up center, which would make Day a likely candidate to be kept. The Broncos are also high on McGovern, who could get the nod over Day. Barring some great pre-season play, I think Stephenson is on the outside looking in. I think aside from that, several of the undrafted rookies are candidates for the Practice Squad.


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