The Denver Broncos signed veteran Ryan Harris after All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady tore his ACL during last weeks OTA practices. Harris is a eight-year veteran who spent his first four NFL seasons (2007-10) with the Broncos after being selected by the team in the third round (70th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft from the University of Notre Dame.
I believe Harris wasn't signed to replace Ryan Clady at left tackle, but to replace Ty Sambrailo at the right tackle spot. The rookie Sambrailo has shifted over from the right side to the left side where he will get the first shot at replacing Clady. This leaves a big hole at the right tackle position once again. This is where Harris comes in. He's a veteran player who is a proven starter, and has experience in Kubiak's system.
Currently, the only other options at right tackle are Chris Clark and Michael Schofield(plus a handful of UDFA's). Chris Clark started the 2014 season at right tackle but was quickly benched for Paul Cornick early in the season. After being benched, he barely saw the field the rest of the season. I believe he's best suited to be a left tackle.
Schofield was a third-round pick by the Broncos in 2014, but struggled early on for them and ended up being a gameday inactive for every game in 2014. He has been earning praise from General Manager John Elway and Head Coach Gary Kubiak this offseason, but will need to prove himself on the field first.
With all this uncertainty at right tackle, I believe the Broncos signed Harris with the intentions of him being the week one starter at right tackle.
Ryan Harris ranked three spots ahead of Ryan Clady on last year’s final @PFF OT season grades. 38th.— Predominantly Orange (@PredomOrange) May 28, 2015
Last season Harris started 15 games for the rival Kansas City Chiefs and played decently for them. According to Pro Football Focus, Harris earned a -1.6 overall grade. He had a pass blocking grade of -3.2 and a run blocking grade of -1.8. Harris also made Pro Football Focus's all AFC West team at right tackle.
Harris earned a total of six green/positive grades in 15 starts in 2014. Harris's three best games came against the Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, and New England Patriots. He grades out well against the San Diego Chargers twice, and held up well against the talented New York Jets defense.
Harris did have some bad games last season. He had a total of five red/negative grades in 15 starts in 2014. Harris's three worse games came against the Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, and Buffalo Bills. His other two negative graded games both came against the Denver Broncos last season.
While these numbers and grades don't jump off the board to you, it's much better than what the Broncos had last season. Harris would give the Broncos some veteran experience, stability, and a guy who knows the scheme starting at the right tackle position.