The First & 10 @ 10 crew on Orange & Blue Radio has an outstanding segment on its morning show leading up to the draft called, “Take Your Case to Court” in which two of the hosts argue for or against some element of the draft.
It’s very entertaining, so I highly recommend it, but it’s also insightful when it comes to the Broncos’ options - and dilemmas - related to their draft picks.
This morning Ryan Edwards and Steve Atwater debated whether the Broncos should consider spending a premium pick on an offensive tackle (rounds 1-3) or avoid that position early and instead aim to get an offensive tackle in a later round or even among the undrafted players.
The case for a premium pick at OT
Edwards made an excellent case for getting an offensive tackle early in the draft, pointing out that although Garett Bolles was a first-round pick in 2017 and newly acquired Ja’wuan James was a first-round pick five years ago, the two are not necessarily “locked in” as the starters there.
According to Pro Football Focus, James was the 64th ranked OT last year while Bolles was the 30th. And Edwards isn’t buying the argument that new offensive line coach Mike Munchak is completely happy with that pair.
“He might like them, but there is no way you can guarantee to me today that he is love with these two offensive tackles,” Edwards said, noting that Munchak is probably looking for some competition at the position. “Why not bring in guys like Dalton Risner who would basically bleed orange and blue if you cut him open at this moment? The last thing you want to do [this season] is be caught in a position where the offensive tackles are not performing again.”
Edwards also noted that the PFF grades for both Bolles and James got worse this year from last.
“The reality is you need depth there, and the best way get that is through premium picks in the draft,” he argued.
The case for getting OT in later rounds
Steve Atwater came in hard with his argument in favor of waiting - presumably because he knows the top-tier defenders available early.
But also because he sees Mike Munchak as a key player in this debate, arguing that the new offensive line coach can do great things for Bolles, James and the rest of the line.
The primary reason to not take an offensive tackle before day three, Atwater argued, is that the Broncos now have two highly drafted tackles on the roster, both in prime form to benefit from the teaching and coaching of Munchak, a former nine-time Pro Bowler and Hall-of-Famer at the position.
In fact, Atwater specifically pointed out how much the Steelers’ line improved under the former Houston Oilers OT.
Prior to his arrival in Pittsburgh, the Steelers were 15th in pass blocking and 22nd in run blocking. By 2016, the line was second in pass blocking and fourth in run blocking.
“We have two guys already on the team ready to be groomed by Mike Munchak,” Atwater argued.
These "Take Your Case to Court" segments are outstanding...and tough to decide. I think I agree with @SteveAtwater27 on this one too https://t.co/V0XixivpoB— Doctor of Words (and tights and positive thinking) (@docllv) April 3, 2019
Actually, I’m not going to tell you how The Honorable Andrew “Mase” Mason ruled in this case because you should listen to the arguments and the decision.
But he did point out that among Munchak’s best players in recent years were both an undrafted Alejandro Villanueva as well as second-rounder Marcus Gilbert - for what that’s worth.
And I definitely encourage you to listen to the “case” - but first weigh in with your thoughts in the comments on how you’d decide.
You decide: OT in rounds 1-3 or wait until later?
This poll is closed
I’m with Ryan - we have got to fix that O-line with top talent
I’m going with Atwater - Munchak is our OL whisperer