2011 Denver Broncos Preview: Offensive Line

The Denver Broncos have a great future at offensive line. They are a young unit that really came together at the end of last season. The starters right now are projected to be Clady-Beadles-Walton-Kuper-Franklin. Where the Broncos really need to find help though is its depth. Stanley Daniels showed that he can help out but isn't a starter in case someone goes down, and that usually happens. It will be a good battle in camp to see who can get the backup guard and tackle spot. 

The new regime of lineman for Denver started with the McDaniels era. Clady and Kuper were Shanahan picks but most of the guys we have now were picks of McDaniels. Hopefully with the group we have now, they can remain together for quite some time and put together the running teams we used to have.

Center


J.D. Walton

#50 / Center / Denver Broncos

6-3

305

Mar 24, 1987

Baylor


J.D. Walton was drafted in 2010 by the Bronco in the third round. He started all 16 games for the Broncos. Walton had a very good season for a rookie. He was the only option to start for the Broncos after the choice of not bringing back Casey Weigmann. He played for the Baylor Bears. He was signed to a four year contract and is entering the second year of it. He was the second center drafted in the 2010 after Maurkice Pouncey. He was an All-American in 2009. Walton is a player you can already name as the starter at this position. The young offensive line will continue to build with Walton being a part of it.

SB Nation Scouting Report

Assets
  • A good blocker with solid quickness, agility, awareness, and focus. Reliable. Pretty well-rounded. Has some leadership ability.
Flaws
  • A bit undersized for the position. Needs to improve his balance and mobility.
Career Potential
  • Solid starting center.

 

  From Denver Broncos Official Page: 2010: At Jacksonville (9/12), Walton made NFL debut, starting at center. ...Vs. Kansas City (11/14), he was part of a starting offensive line unit that didn't allow a sack and led the way for the Broncos' first 100-yard individual rushing performance in 2010. He also made his first career special-teams tackle, assisting P/H Britton Colquitt on a touchdown-saving tackle after a missed field goal at the end of the first half.

Guards


Zane Beadles

#68 / Guard / Denver Broncos

6-4

305

Nov 19, 1986

Utah


Zane Beadles was drafted in 2010 in the second round. Beadles started all four years at Utah and was an All-American in his senior year. He is a very versatile player as he is able to play at tackle and guard. In 2010 he played in all 16 games for the Broncos starting 14 of them. Beadles also is a good fit for the John Fox running scheme bring a nasty big lineman. Going into training camp, he has the starting job at left guard but also being able to provide relief should someone else go down.

From Denver Broncos Official Page:

2010: Beadles made his career debut in the season opener at Jacksonville (9/12), starting at right tackle... Part of the starting offensive line unit that didn't allow a sack and led the way for the Broncos' first 100-yard individual rushing performance in 2010 vs. Kansas City (11/14)... Part of the starting offensive line unit that only allowed one sack and blocked for a run game that totaled 126 yards vs. Houston (12/26).


Chris Kuper

#73 / Guard / Denver Broncos

6-4

303

Dec 19, 1982

North Dakota


Chris Kuper was drafted in the fifth round out of North Dakota in 2006. Kuper will be the starting right guard for the Broncos going into the season.  Kuper became a full time player in 2007 for the Broncos starting 11 games. In 2010 the Broncos announced that they had signed Kuper to a 6 year deal worth $29 million. He was one of the team captains in 2010. Kuper has been solid for the Broncos only missing one game to injury each of the past two seasons.

SB Nation Scouting Report

Assets
  • Almost never gives up a sack. Approaches the game with great intensity; is a hard worker who has really evolved as a blocker. Reads plays well, shows good instincts, and has a solid demeanor with some leadership ability on the O-line.
Flaws
  • Has good size and athleticism but is not above-average in those areas, meaning he has to work on every snap (which he does).
Career Potential
  • Excellent starting guard.

From Denver Broncos Official Page:

QUICKLY: The fifth-year offensive lineman is in his fourth season as a starter for the Broncos and has allowed just six sacks in 42 career starts (31 at right guard, 11 at left guard) according to Stats Inc. Kuper is a team captain for the 2010 season. 


Russ Hochstein

#71 / Guard / Denver Broncos

6-4

305

Oct 07, 1977

Nebraska



On August 25th, 2009, Josh McDaniels traded a 7th round pick to New England for Ross Hochstein. Hochstein was drafted in the fifth round in 2001 by Tampa Bay. Hochstein the next season played for the Patriots winning Super Bowls with the team. In 2009, Hochstein, started 10 of the 15 games he dressed for. 

SB Nation Scouting Report

Assets
  • Smart, experimented and technically sound. A wall-off player who gets good position. Plays with great leverage and can block on the move.
Flaws
  • Lacks great bulk or quickness. Doesn't generate a lot of push. Can get beaten by elite defensive tackles and needs help in pass protection.
Career Potential
  • Adequate starter.
  • Awards Super Bowl

From Denver Broncos Official Site

QUICKLY: Hochstein, who was acquired by Denver in a trade on Aug. 25, 2009, has started games in at five different positions (C, LG, RG, FB, TE) in his career… Saw time in 36 of a possible 38 games for the Patriots’ back-to-back Super Bowl-champion teams from 2003-04. 2010: Hochstein played in each of the team's 16 games, including six starts. 2009: Hochstein, who was acquired by Denver in a trade from New England on Aug. 25, played 15 games with a career-high 10 starts for the Broncos at three different positions (8 at left guard, 1 at right guard, 1 at tight end)... Also saw time at fullback in goal-line situations... Placed on injured reserve with a knee injury on Dec. 29... Started at right guard in the season opener at Cin. (9/13)... Started vs. Dal. (10/4) as well as in Games 9-15 at left guard... Opened Denver’s contest vs. Pit. (11/9) at tight end.


Eric Olsen

#69 / Guard / Denver Broncos

6-3

305

Jun 16, 1988

Notre Dame



Eric Olsen was drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 draft. Olsen started the last 31 games he played at Notre Dame.  Olsen is considered a project, but is known for his big numbers he put up at the combine. In the one game that Olsen played, he was on the special teams unit against Seattle. 

Assets
  • A hard-working, high-motor interior offensive lineman. Feisty, and fights hard for position. Snaps the ball well as a center. Has some leadership ability. Can play center and guard.
Flaws
  • Not fast, and struggles getting out in space to run-block. Needs to find his niche at the NFL level.
Career Potential
  • Good rotational interior O-lineman with upside.

From Denver Broncos Official Page:

QUICKLY: Olsen was selected by the Broncos in the sixth round (183rd overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft from Notre Dame where he started at all three interior offensive line positions during his collegiate career… Penalized just once during his final 1,731 plays and allowed only four quarterback sacks in his last two years for the Fighting Irish. 2010: Olsen made his NFL debut on the field goal protection unit against Seattle (9/19).


Stanley Daniels

#64 / Guard / Denver Broncos

6-4

320

Nov 30, 1984

Washington



Daniels was undrafted in 2007 and signed by the Rams. In 2010 he signed with the Broncos as a depth player. After the 2010 training camp he made the opening day roster. Daniels started the first four games at left guard.  Daniels role was diminished to special teams for the next while and eventually was listed as inactive. On December 12th, he was waived and signed to the practice squad. 

SB Nation Scouting Report

Assets
  • Boasts excellent natural size (in both height and bulk) for the NFL guard spot. A converted defensive lineman who shows good awareness on the field. Can play some tackle as well as guard.
Flaws
  • Has taken an long time establishing himself at the NFL level and needs to step up and find his niche as a pro.
Career Potential
  • Adequate depth offensive lineman.

From Denver Broncos Official Page

QUICKLY: Daniels joined the Broncos as a free agent on May 14, 2010 after spending time on the Packers’ practice squad in 2009 and the Jets’ practice squad in 2008… Entered the league as a college free agent with the Rams in 2007. 2010: Daniels made his first NFL appearance in the season opener at Jacksonville (9/12), earning the start at left guard. 2009: Daniels saw time on the Packers' practice squad. 2008: Daniels competed on the New York Jets' practice squad. 2007: Daniels entered the NFL with St. Louis in 2007 as a college free agent.


Jeff Byers

#63 / Guard / Denver Broncos

6-4

301

Sep 07, 1985

U-S-C



Byers was was a college free agent in 2010 with Seattle. The Broncos signed Byers off waivers on placed him on the practice squad. He was on the active roster for a few games at the end of the season. 

From Denver Broncos Official Page: 

BYERS AT A GLANCE:

  • A rookie offensive lineman who competed in training camp with Seattle in 2010.
  • Named second-team All-Pacific-10 Conference as a junior.
  • Earned Gatorade National Player of the Year as a senior at Loveland High School in Loveland, Colo.
  • Signed to the Broncos' active roster on Dec. 24, 2010
  • Awarded to the Broncos' practice squad via waivers (Seattle) on Sept. 6, 2010.
  • Signed as a college free agent by Seattle on April 24, 2010.

2010: Byers joined the Broncos' practice squad via waivers from Seattle on Sept. 6, and was signed to the active roster on Dec. 24... Competed in training camp with the Seahawks after signing with the club as a college free agent on April 24.


Manny Ramirez

#65 / Guard / Denver Broncos

6-3

326

Feb 19, 1983

Texas Tech



Ramirez was drafted in the fourth round in 2007 by Detroit. He has played in 18 games and started 15 of them. Last season he did not play in any games. He will compete for a backup role with the Broncos this season. 

Assets
  • An outstanding run blocker who can really plow the field. A powerful lineman who uses his strength to occasionally steamroll defenders. Possesses good bulk, power, and surprising quickness.
Flaws
  • Needs to improve as a pass protector. Doesn't have the best technique against speedy rushers. Plays high and gets pushed backwards.
Career Potential
  • Adequate starter.

Denver Broncos Official Page

Ramirez will enter his fifth year having played 18 career games (15 starts) for Detroit since he was selected by the Lions in the fourth round (117th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft from Texas Tech University. 

The Red Raiders led the nation with an average of 398.9 passing yards per game during his four seasons as a starter (2003-06). He received first-team All-Big 12 accolades as a senior in 2006. 

Ramirez attended Willowridge High School in Houston, Texas, where he was a first-team All-District 20-5A selection as a junior and senior. He was born on Feb. 13, 1983.

 

 


Shawn Murphy

#60 / Guard / Denver Broncos

6-4

315

Dec 17, 1982

Utah State


 

Murphy was drafted in the fourth round by the Miami Dolphins in the 2008 NFL Draft. He has only been active for one game in his career and he did not start. He would be a long shot to make the team and if he did would be a depth lineman. He will probably end up getting practice roster but the preseason games will be important for him.

SB Nation Scouting Report

Assets
  • Has great size and good (but basic) blocking abilities. The son of former Major League Baseball star Dale Murphy, he comes by his athleticism naturally.
Flaws
  • Still somewhat raw despite advancing age and sometimes relies too much on his athleticism; needs a lot of work on his blocking technique at the NFL level.
Career Potential
  • Average rotational O-lineman.

Tackles


Ryan Clady

#78 / Offensive Tackle / Denver Broncos

6-6

325

Sep 06, 1986

Boise State



Ryan Clady was drafted by the Broncos in 2008 in the first round. From day one he has been a starter at left tackle and one of the leagues elite. You could argue Clady as a top 3 tackle in the NFL. In his rookie season, he only gave up half a sack and only three penalties. In 2009, Sports Illustrated listed Clady as the number one tackle in the NFL. He played in the 2009 Pro Bowl and the NFL First Team. In April of 2010, Clady injured his knee playing basketball in the offseason bringing questions if he would recover and be the same. He was able so start week 1 in 2010 but it took a few months before Clady got back to his top form. 

This season, Clady will be back after an injury free off-season and should be at top form protecting the blindside of whoever is the quarterback. The Broncos number one priority when it comes to roster moves is re-sign Clady to a long term deal. 

Assets
  • Simply massive, he brings a rare athleticism to the field for a guy his size. He has great feet and is very fluid in space, showing excellent quickness, balance, coordination and instincts.
Flaws
  • Needs to add a little more power, bulk and technique to his game. Not as efficient in run blocking as he is as a pass protector. Inconsistent performer.
Career Potential
  • Good starter.
  • Awards Named to play in Pro Bowl

From Denver Broncos  Official Page

QUICKLY: Clady has started 48 straight games at left tackle to begin his career. He did not give up a full sack in his first 20 career starts, an NFL record since STATS Inc. began tracking the statistic in 1994... Named to his first career Pro Bowl in 2009 and was also named first-team All-Pro... Became the first offensive lineman to be named Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week in the five-year history of the award for his play vs. Kansas City (12/7/08)... One of five players drafted in 2008 to start every possible game.


Orlando Franklin

#74 / Offensive Tackle / Denver Broncos

6-5

no player image available

316

Dec 16, 1987

Miami-Florida



Orlando Franklin was drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft. His is known for how nasty he plays and his toughness. He is competing for the starting job at right tackle and will probably win it with the departure of Ryan Harris. Franklin played left guard for the Hurricanes. Franklin started 40 of the 51 games he was in at Miami. He has to work on his instincts when the opponents run stunts on the defensive line. 

Denver Broncos Official Page

CAREER NOTES
Franklin appeared in 51 games, one short of the school career-record of 52 contests by Brandon Meriweather (2002- 06)…Started 39 contests – 14 at left tackle and 25 at left guard…In his last three seasons as a full-time starter, Franklin delivered 150 knockdowns with 35 touchdown-resulting blocks, grading 85.61% for blocking consistency…Led the team in knockdowns in each of his final three seasons. 2010 SEASON All-Atlantic Coast Conference second-team selection by the league’s coaches and media…Played in all thirteen games, starting twelve contests at left offensive tackle…Still managed to lead the team with 61 knockdowns and 16 touchdown resulting blocks, as the two-time ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week (Pittsburgh and Ohio State) provided solid pass protection in the trenches, helping the Hurricanes reduce their sacks allowed total from 35 in 2009 (100th in the nation) to 16 in 2010, the second-fewest total in the conference, ranking 24th in the nation…The offense led the ACC and placed 31st nationally with an average of 421.31 yards per game…Graded 89% for blocking consistency vs. Pittsburgh, 95% vs. Florida A&M, 94% vs. North Carolina State and a season-best 96% vs. Ohio State…Miami’s total of 5,477 yards in total offense is the second-best total by a UM squad in a season.


Chris Clark

#75 / Offensive Tackle / Denver Broncos

6-5

315

Oct 01, 1985

Southern Mississippi


 

Chris Clark was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He played for Southern Mississippi. At Southern-Miss, he was an all-conference tackle in 2008 as a senior.  After that he was with the Vikings for two seasons before being waived and picked up by the Broncos. Clark was with the Broncos practice roster before being active for 8 games. He was on the field for a play on a 1 yard Tebow touchdown run! 

He might have a chance at making the roster due to our lack of quality depth at tackle.


Herb Taylor

#72 / Offensive Tackle / Denver Broncos

6-3

295

Sep 22, 1984

T-C-U


Herb Taylor is a guard/tackle. He played last season for Las Vegas in the UFL.  He was signed to a future contract in January of 2011. In 2007 and 2008 he was with Kansas City after being drafted in the 6th round out of TCU and played a total of 18 games starting 1. 

Assets
  • Smart and intense. Has a nice all-round skill-set. A hard worker who always has his head in the play. Versatile and extremely dependable.
Flaws
  • Undersized: lacks ideal height and bulk and will struggle with certain assignments as a result. Doesn't possess elite athleticism.
Career Potential
  • Solid spot-starting guard / tackle.


Curt Porter

#70 / Offensive Tackle / Denver Broncos

 6-7

 290

 July 11, 1988

 Jacksonville State


 

Curt Porter is another undrafted free agent picked up by the Broncos in 2011. He attended Jacksonville State. Curt Porter started every game in 2009 as a junior making the All-OVC team. He led the team in pancake blocks with 13. He will compete for a roster spot but will most likely end up as a practice squad player.


Adam Grant

#67 / Offensive Tackle / Denver Broncos

 6-6

 325

 May 2nd 1986

 Arizona

 

Adam Grant is a tackle out of Arizona. He is an undrafted free agent that was picked up a week ago. Unfortunately he has injury history. He made the All-Pac 10 second team for a strong rushing attack for the Wildcats in 2009 and 2010.

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