About a month ago, the Denver Broncos hired John Benton as their assistant offensive line coach. His time with the team didn't last long, as Benton was poached away by the San Francisco 49ers last week to become their full-time offensive line coach. It was seen as a significant loss to the Broncos coaching staff, with Benton being thought of highly of across the league.
But it didn't take long for the Broncos to land their replacement. According to Mike Klis of 9News, the Broncos have hired University of Washington associate head coach / offensive line coach Chris Strausser to replace Benton.
Chris Strausser is reportedly leaving the Huskies for the NFL, the second assistant to depart in as many weeks >> https://t.co/NPzgLxRuhP pic.twitter.com/TOw0sydt8I— Seattle Times Sports (@SeaTimesSports) February 25, 2017
Strausser is a well-respected coach who has over twenty-five years of experience at the collegiate level, with a majority of that time being spent at Boise State. During his time in Boise, he helped groom current Broncos center Matt Paradis into one of the nation's best offensive lineman and forged a quality rushing attack led by current Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi.
His success continued as he left Boise State for Washington. Strausser's efforts with the Huskies this past three seasons helped them have one of the most explosives offenses in college football, and helped earn them a bid in this years' NCAA playoffs. Furthermore, his coaching helped his offensive line unit pave the way for Huskies running back Myles Gaskin to have consecutive 1,000 yard rushing seasons.
Strausser is known for being a proponent of the zone blocking scheme, which varies from current Broncos offensive line coach Jeff Davidson who has used more power schemes in the past. His hire seems to reinforce head coach Vance Joseph's desire to have an offensive line capable of running both schemes with efficiency. With Davidson and Strausser coaching the Broncos' offensive line, there is hope that the unit can improve drastically from their woeful performance past season.
For those who are interested in the NFL Draft, here is a prospect you could see becoming a Bronco come April — Jake Eldrenkamp. Eldrenkamp isn't a high-profile prospect and is listed by most outlets as a late round pick or priority free agent. Nevertheless, his connection to Strausser is worth noting, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him with the team next year.
After redshirting in 2012, he spent the next two seasons in a reserve role for the Huskies. Under Strausser's tutelage the past two seasons, he started 23 games at left guard. His stellar play in this past year earned him First-Team All-Pac 12 honors and the honor of being named the Pac-12's Football Scholar Athlete of the Year.
With Strausser's hire, the coaching staff for the 2017 Denver Broncos appears to be set. Broncos Country, let's give him a big welcome, wish him the best and hope he can help transform the offensive line and rushing attack here in Denver.