Regardless of flurry of free company and draft strikes, Broncos’ roster lacks depth
Jeff Legwold, ESPN Senior AuthorCould 9, 2023, 06:00 AM ET
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Although the Denver Broncos waved across the league’s greatest checkbook in free company and tried to profit from 5 draft picks, they strategy rookie minicamp camp this week with lots of the similar issues they’d headed into the offseason.
The Broncos have spent $241.4 million — probably the most within the NFL — in free company thus far, however there are nonetheless components of the Broncos’ roster skinny sufficient for the sunshine to shine by means of.
Broncos basic supervisor George Paton referred to as the post-draft seek for depth “ongoing and it by no means stops.’’ A place that Broncos coach Sean Payton has tagged as one of the vital within the workforce’s quest to finish a seven-year playoff drought — the offensive line — is a priority.
“[Hall of Fame coach] Invoice [Parcells] felt the offensive line was one of the vital positions in your roster as a result of it permeated the constructing,’’ Payton stated. “He did not say it needed to be carried out within the draft or in free company, however he simply felt like that place group was vital. No matter his philosophy and my publicity to Invoice — when George and I began … that was a spotlight for us in upgrading and getting our workforce higher.’’
It is no accident the league’s worst offense in 2022 (16.9 factors per sport) with a quarterback who was sacked a league-most 55 instances has seen probably the most change, particularly within the offensive line. Sort out Mike McGlinchey (5 years, $87.5 million) and guard Ben Powers (4 years, $51.5 million) acquired the Broncos’ two greatest free agent offers.
Gamers who began a mixed 128 video games within the offensive line for the Broncos over the previous 4 seasons, and made 57 mixed begins in 2022 alone, are gone. That complete consists of gamers who began video games final season- at left deal with, proper deal with, heart and left guard.
Guard Dalton Risner, who’s an unsigned free brokers, had 62 of these begins and Graham Glasgow had 37. As one of many league’s basic managers put it this previous week: “If it was me, I’d be nervous, but it surely takes time each time you make a change, and so they’ve traded plenty of picks.’’
It’s why Payton has stated the brand new gamers, whether or not they performed for him in his lengthy stint with the New Orleans Saints or not, needed to be a part of the answer.
“That’s all a part of this stew that’s going to create the tradition,’’ Payton stated. “Actually, it’s the folks from inside which can be right here and which can be anxious to win and have success.’’
McGlinchey and Powers seemingly absolutely perceive what is anticipated of them. However any kind of unhealthy luck with accidents, and the Broncos won’t even be as outfitted to take care of it as they had been final season, once they struggled to beat 22 gamers ending the season on injured reserve.
Past the 5 projected starters up entrance on offense — McGlinchey and Garett Bolles at deal with with Powers and Quinn Meinerz at guard to go together with Lloyd Cushenberry III at heart — the Broncos have 20 mixed begins from all of their present backup linemen.
They don’t have a reserve guard, or a participant they record at guard on the roster, with any NFL begins. And they don’t have a participant — aside from Bolles — on the roster who has began an NFL sport at left deal with.
The Broncos have additionally had turnover at tight finish. Denver traded for Adam Trautman, a former third-round decide in Payton’s time with the Saints. Trautman has 28 begins with a career-best 27 catches in 2021. They’d gamers with 22 begins on the place in 2022 alone transfer on.
With 5 picks within the draft, a deep class of tight ends provided no assist, with the Broncos selecting gamers at different spots over the three days. The Broncos may also want to handle depth at operating again with Javonte Williams, who’s recovering from proper knee surgical procedure, and free agent signee Samaje Perine, who hasn’t had greater than 95 carries in a season since his rookie 12 months in 2017.
As Paton was poised to signal an extended record of undrafted rookies within the days following the workforce’s 5 picks, he stated, “We’re hoping to seek out a number of actually good gamers in free company put up draft.’’