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Denver Broncos No Bull roster analysis: Offensive line

We take a peek at the Denver Broncos roster and delves into our offensive line... Who do we have under contract? What did they look like on the field?

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Up next, we're going to dive into the Denver offensive linemen. The purpose of this series is to take a peek at who we have on the team now as we prepare for Free Agency and the NFL Draft. Please note that while I'm going to throw out some basic stats for our guys, that's just for easy reference. The core of my analysis on these guys comes from what I saw on the field.

Disclaimer: The No Bull Review is about what I see on Broncos game day. Players buried on the depth chart or practice squad might not be included.

Offensive Tackles:

Ryan Clady

Position Games / Started
LT 16 / 16

Current Contract Cap Hit Dead Cap
3rd of 5 years $10.6M $1.8M

Ryan Clady is a legend at left tackle...or at least he used to be. I'm hoping he continues to heal as his injury last year seems to have hampered his game quite a bit. The best attribute Clady has always had has been his footwork. He's always looked to me to be one of the most nimble linemen on his feet in the NFL.

  • While it may look attractive to cut him based off savings alone, we really should hedge our bets on him returning to form (our O-line depth is not good based off what I saw last year)
  • Plays both the run and the pass equally well, though his pass protection took a step back this year

Chris Clark

Position Games / Started
RT 13 / 7

Current Contract Cap Hit Dead Cap
2nd of 2 years ~$1.6M ~$225k

I'm not a big Chris Clark fan. He's one of the big reasons that I saw in which we had such a problem on our line last year and needed to reshuffle. Our coaches went into the season thinking he would be able to anchor the right side of the line based off his admiral job of filling in at LT last year. The problem there is that he is poor at run blocking and only average at pass blocking.

  • We will in all likelihood keep him as makes too much money sense and he can fill in at LT
  • I'd like to think he'd improve with more zone blocking assignments, but I doubt it. He doesn't have the push for it overall

Paul Cornick

Position Games / Started
T 12 / 6

Current Contract Cap Hit Dead Cap
ERFA $510k -

The best thing I saw from Cornick last year was him filling in as a TE for us. He run blocks decently. He doesn't seem quick enough to pass block well, though.

  • Hopefully he can develop more, as I didn't see a lot that looked good in his action last year
  • I'm not certain he'll make it through to the regular season honestly

Michael Schoefield

Position Games / Started
RT? 0 / 0

Current Contract Cap Hit Dead Cap
2nd of 4 years ~$520k ~$390k

I'd love to tell you a ton about Schoefield, but I don't have anything to work off of. I decided to mention him because he was drafted by Elway and everything we heard last year was that he just needed development. It isn't unheard of at all for linemen making the big step to the NFL need a year to get their bodies up to size, so I'm still holding out hope he takes a starting position.

Guards / Centers

Ben Garland

Position Games / Started
LG 8 / 0

Current Contract Cap Hit Dead Cap
ERFA $510k -

Ben Garland is the Offensive Line's Derrek Wolfe. He has a very high motor and it isn't just an outlier. That's been the story on him for a couple years running at this point. I love that attribute in a lineman and given his lack of time at O-Line, I'm patient enough to hold out hope for Garland into the pre-season.

  • I do remember thinking Garland stood out last year in the preseason vs the other 2nd stringers he was lined up with
  • I also recall that his footwork was still a work in progress some. His motor really makes up for it, but if he can get his technique down better, he could actually turn into a solid backup if not starter.

Will Montgomery

Position Games / Started
C 16 / 8

Current Contract Cap Hit Dead Cap
UFA - -

I didn't think much of Will Montgomery going into last season other than that he was a depth signing. He really did impress me though as the season wore on. There were games late in the season where he and Franklin were the only shining examples of O-Line play.

  • Comes from a heavy zone blocking scheme so would be a natural C for us if we want to use him as a stop-gap center
  • Really does combo block well in the run game
  • Got pushed from some bigger guys in pass protection, but Peyton's ability to get rid of the ball quickly makes this not as big of an issue.

Manny Ramirez

Position Games / Started
C/G 16 / 16

Current Contract Cap Hit Dead Cap
3rd of 3 years ~$3.1M ~$170k

I remember being so proud of the plate of crow I ate at the end of the 2013 season about Manny. I had not had a good review of him coming out of the preseason and he totally blew me away with his play at Center. It was his best year by far as a pro. That being said, his game took a big step back this year. I understand the need to move him to RG, but it caused him to be the main blocker in run assignments more often and he isn't as good at that as he is at C doing more of the combo assignments.

  • The only reason we may not cut him is the vast ocean of nothingness we have as O-line depth
  • That being said, I'd still probably cut him to save the money and look for a better option in FA / draft.

Louis Vasquez

Position Games / Started
RG 16 / 16

Current Contract Cap Hit Dead Cap
3rd of 4 years $6.25M $2.5M

Louis' season wasn't as great either as his 2012 campaign, but that's because he was really being played out of position. He needs to go back to RG and after a season to rest his body he absolutely can round back into pro-bowl form.

  • Super pass blocker and an above-average run blocker
  • He's one of the few answers we have on O-line going into next year

Closing Thoughts / Overview:

The offensive line is probably the biggest area of need on the team right now.

The offensive line is probably the biggest area of need on the team right now. We have a left tackle and a right guard answer and that is it honestly. I would expect us to probably bring back Will Montgomery. Even if we get a better center, he's still got value as depth.

We do have some room to play in free agency, but it isn't much. We will in all likelihood address TE and a starting lineman in short order. The rest of it we can honestly look for solid players that don't break the bank.