2017 Denver Broncos Offensive Line Preview

With OTAs heating up and training camp around the corner, it’s time to start previewing the Denver Broncos starting lineup. All reports out of OTAs say there is incredible competition at every position. After an 8-8 season, the Broncos have to improve on nearly every front if the Super Bowl 50 champions want to return to the playoffs. The Broncos biggest need for improvement comes on the offensive line. The entire offense was inconsistent and largely unproductive in 2016, and it all started up front.

2017 Denver Broncos Offensive Line Preview

Left Tackle

Early stories coming out of OTAs are reporting that Donald Stephenson and Ty Sambrailo are splitting first team reps at left tackle. This, of course, means that first round pick Garett Bolles is running every play with the second team. Bolles has been pegged the probable starter since day one and likely will maintain that title if everything goes according to schedule. First, Bolles will have to learn the playbook and get used to a pro style system. Repetitions are the only way that Bolles will be able to learn and grow at the left tackle position. It doesn’t matter where he is on the depth chart until late training camp and early preseason. The team will look to get him as many reps as possible until he is comfortable with the playbook. There is no reason, at this time, to believe he isn’t the left tackle of the future.

Projected Starter: Garett Bolles

Left Guard

Left guard is one of the two positions on the offensive line with carryover from the 2016 team. Max Garcia has been with the Broncos since he was drafted in 2015. As a 16 game starter last season, Garcia proved he was ready to be a mainstay on the Broncos offensive line. With the addition of Bolles on the left side, the Broncos could have a powerful left side to jump start the run game in 2017. There doesn’t seem to be much competition at this position, and there probably won’t be for a few years to come assuming Garcia can stay healthy.

Projected Starter: Max Garcia


Similar to left guard, the Broncos seem to have found a long time solution at the center position. Although Matt Paradis hasn’t been completely healthy the whole time, he has yet to miss a game since the Broncos drafted him in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL draft. Nobody expected Paradis to be a mainstay when he went off the board at pick 207, but he got an opportunity and has thrived ever since. Center is another position where the Broncos seem to have found their guy.

Projected Starter: Matt Paradis

Right Guard

Michael Schofield has been starting on the Broncos offensive line for the past couple years, but many have seen him as a weak spot. The Broncos knew they had to restructure the right side of the offensive line completely. The Broncos went out and signed Ronald Leary from the Cowboys to play right guard. The Cowboys have had a top offensive line over the last couple seasons. When healthy, Leary was a major part of the team’s collective success. He has started all but one game he’s played in since 2013 and has contributed greatly to one of the league’s best rushing attacks. Leary was a major pickup for the Broncos and will be an instrumental part of any team success as long as he can stay on the field.

Projected Starter: Ronald Leary

Right Tackle

Right tackle seems to be the most hotly contested position for the Broncos front five. With Stephenson, Sambrailo, and former Oakland Raider Menelik Watson, the Broncos have a few options on the right side. As the regular starter last year, Stephenson has to be an favorite assuming Bolles takes over on the left side. Stephenson took most of the snaps at right tackle last season and has the most experience of the three top candidates. Sambrailo has been a promising prospect for the Broncos, but he continues to struggle with multiple injury issues. Sambrailo will likely act as the Broncos utility lineman this season in case any starters go down. Menelik Watson is the most intriguing option for the Broncos at right tackle. Watson has also struggled with injuries during his NFL career missing the entire 2015 with a torn Achilles tendon. The Broncos, though, saw enough talent in Watson to give him a shot. If healthy, Watson presents a strong option at right tackle for the Broncos reconstructed offensive line. Stephenson’s struggles from last season could work against him in this battle.

Projected Starter: Menelik Watson

The Broncos will benefit from the competition on the offensive line this year. With multiple options at each position, each player will be pushed to their limits. The team can expect this competition to put a spotlight on the best option in each slot. The offensive line will be much improved which can only mean good things for an offense that struggled last season.

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