There has been a great deal of unneeded anxiety at MHR over the Broncos perceived lack of offensive line depth. That got me thinking about who in the NFL actually has offensive line depth. Somebody has to have it, right? So I started looking into the matter by looking at the guys who were the backups for the best five OL units in 2010 (according to PFF)
The assumption being that to be a good line requires talent AND depth since injuries are going to occur. Make the jump with me and lets see what great OLs had on their benches in in 2010. I am not going to count long snappers.
The Jets had four reserve O lineman in 2010
Robert Turner: a 4th year vet out of New Mexico originally an UDCFA with 2 career starts
Vlad Ducasse: a rookie 2nd rnd pick out of BC
Tanner Purdum: a rookie UDCFA from UC-Baker
The Texans had 6 backups in 2010
Jon Weeks: a rookie UDCFA from Baylor
Antoine Caldwell: 2nd year player who was originally a 3rd rnd pick from Bama who entered the season with 3 career starts
Casey Studdard: a 6th yr vet who was originally a 6th rnd pick out of Texas - 14 career starts (all in 2009)
Mike Breisel: a 4 yr vet UDCFA out of CSU (who is a quality starter but can't stay healthy)
The Pats had 5 backups in 2010
Ryan Wendell: a 2nd yr vet UDCFA from Fresno St who entered 2010 with no starts and 2 career games played
Matt Katula: a 4 yr vet originally an UDCFA from Wisconsin with zero career starts
Quinn Ojinnaka: a 4th yr vet originally drafted in the 5th rnd by the Falcons out of Syracuse. 12 career starts.
Rich Ohrnberger: 2nd year vet out of PSU 4th rnd. entered the 2010 season with no starts and 3 career games played.
Mark LeVoir: a 3rd yr vet UDCFA out of ND with 2 career starts.
The Ravens had 2 backup offensive lineman in 2010
Oniel Cousins: a 3rd yr vet 3rd rnd pick out of UTEP with 4 career starts.
The Bungals had 3 backups in 2010
Evan Mathis: a 6th yr vet 5th rnd pick by the Panthers out of Bama. 22 career starts
Andre Smith: a 2nd yr vet 1st round pick out of Bama with one career start entering the season (huge draft bust for the Bengals)
Anthony Collins: a 3rd yr pro out of KSU picked by the Bungals in the 4th round. 13 career starts entering 2010.
The projected backups for the 2011 Broncos
Stanley Daniels: an UDCFA out of Washington with 4 career starts (all in 2010). His play very poor in 2010. Has good size for a G (listed at 328). He might show improvement in his second season as a pro - which is normal for offensive lineman, but given how poor he played when he was forced to start in 2010 I would be surprised if he is still on the roster at the start of the season.
Russ Hochstein: a 10 yr vet originally drafted by the Bucs in the 5th rnd out of Nebraska. He had been a career backup never starting more than 8 games (2007) before he joined the Broncos. He started a combined 16 games in the last two years, but is much better suited as a backup. Versatile enough to play both G and T, but not really suited to playing tackle based on somatype.
Eric Olsen: a 6th rnd pick out of ND he only appeared in one game for the Broncos in 2010 as a rookie. Olsen is quite strong (35 reps on the bench at the combine) and is fairly quick (good 3-cone), but he plays high and doesn't bend his kness well. His C-G verastility might keep him on the roster, but right now he is behind Ramirez (who had a horrible practice yesterday) on the depth chart
Manny Ramirez: a 4th yr veteran out of Texas Tech originally drafted in the 4rd by the Lions. Ramirez was a starter for the Lions in 2009, but was completely out of the NFL in 2010. Good size for a guard and good push in the running game. Tremendously strong, Manny set the TTU bench press record at 550 lbs. He was rated as the 4th best OG prospect in the 2007 draft. The Lions traded up to get this guy. He is intriguing, but based on the previous OL preview he has some serious flaws in his game.
Herb Taylor: Originally a 6th rnd pick of the Chiefs out of TCU in 2007. Taylor is undersized for an NFL tackle (295) and has a hard time against DT/DEs who are big. Technically sound, but not very quick or fast. Taylor has one career start and has appeared in 18 NFL games.
Chris Clark: an UDCFA out of Southern Miss in 2008 originally signed by the Bucs. Clark has more of a standard somatype for an NFL tackle (6-5, 315). He appeared in 8 games for Broncos in 2010 and was an upgrade at tackle over Batista. Based on limited action he appears to have the skills to be a plus backup in the league. He was previously on the practice squads of both the Bucs and Vikings.
To my eyes, our OL depth appears to be about the same as the 5 best OLs in the NFL in 2010. Is it good depth?maybe. It is about the same as what the five teams above had last year? Yes
As always, it's hard to get good OL play when you suffer any injuries, just because of the unit nature of playing offensive line. The lines above, by and large, were healthy in 2010 and did not have to start their backups. In fact healthy OL starters is a pretty common theme among Superbowl winners (assumption is that the guys who started were the starters at the beginning of the year).
2010 GB - 4 of 5 started all 16 games, Bulaga started 12 - 4 missed starts total
2009 NO - 4 of 5 started all 16 games, Bushrod started 14 - 2 missed starts total
2008 PIT - 3 of 5 started all 16 games, Starks started 11 at RT, Stapleton 12 at RG - 9 total missed starts
2007 NYG - all 5 started 16 games - 0 missed starts
2006 IND - 3 started 16 games, 1 started 15 games, Gandy started 11 a LG - 6 missed starts
2005 PIT - 4 of 5 started 16 games, Smith started 12 - 4 missed starts
2004 Pats - 3 started 16, 1 started 14, Gorin started 10 at RT - 6 missed starts
2003 Pats - 2 started 16, 1 - 15, 1 - 14, 1 - 13 - 5 total missed starts