It doesn’t take long to realize how important depth is to an NFL team’s fortunes. Broncos Country only has to take a look back at the 2018 season to realize how big a deal line depth was to the success of the rushing attack.
Ronald Leary goes down in October. Matt Paradis is lost for the season in November. Jared Veldheer played 12 of 16 games. The rotating cast put a strain on every other player on offense as Max Garcia, Connor McGovern, and Elijah Wilkinson rotated in to fill the void.
Health luck and adequate depth will serve as the single most influential aspect of the Broncos line in 2018. Even more than Mike Munchak. John Elway obviously recognized this fact as he brought in 10 new offensive lineman to compete for time. One of those 10 is Tulane’s own John Leglue.
John Leglue Profile
Leglue got into the game early, as he started playing football in fifth grade. A Louisiana native, he chose to stay close to home in part because of Tulane’s academic prestige. Once he made it onto campus he found a great deal of success on and off the field.
Over the course of his collegiate career he played in over 49 games and earned 39 starts across the line. He also embodies what the NCAA hopes for in a student athlete, as he completed his Masters of Business Administration in just five years.
Team success was harder to come by, and it wasn’t until Leglue’s last season that Tulane made a bowl game for the first time since 2013. They made the long awaited trip to the postseason a joyous one as they ran for 337 yards in a 41-24 victory over the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.
- Very experienced.
- Good height.
- 34 1/8 arms.
- Good short shuttle 4.57.
- Tulane utilized heavy dose of inside zone.
- Reputation for hard work and intelligence.
I’ve mentioned a time or two how important experience is to me as I evaluate offensive lineman. Well, Leglue has it in heaps. Not only did he play in 49 games across his college career, but he started 15 games at Right Tackle, 13 at Right Guard, 9 at Center and 1 at Left Tackle. That suggests he brings the mental capabilities to adjust to whatever position the Broncos may need him at, which can only help his NFL aspirations.
Leglue also finished an MBA in five years while playing for the football team, which is no small achievement. The kind of focus that takes suggests he can be counted on to put in the work to learn the Broncos’ offense. Even better, he brings that intelligence and effort to the football field.
“I’d say the biggest deal is he’s a smart kid student-wise, but he’s also a smart football player,” Tulane coach Willie Fritz said. “Sometimes those don’t always go hand in hand, but it sure does with him. He understands what we’re doing.”
#Broncos UDFA John Leglue was one of college football's best pass-protecting guards last season.— PFF DEN Broncos (@PFF_Broncos) May 8, 2019
Among the 76 draft-eligible right guards with at least 100 snaps last year, Leglue's 86.6 pass-blocking grade ranked 5th! #BroncosCountry https://t.co/lM3Vkn0FnB
- Poor upper body strength.
- Played in an option-heavy offense.
- Small school prospect.
- Older prospect.
One thing to keep in mind when you see that PFF grade is the Tulane offense: it was an option attack. Over the entire course of the 2018 season, the Green Waves attempted just 300 passes. So while Leglue still had to set up and stall his man in pass protection, he did not face off against defenders teeing up to rush the passer near as often. In fact Tulane ended up 125th in the NCAA in passing-downs sack rate, according to ESPN’s Bill Connelly.
The other big issue with Leglue is three-in-one: he only notched 17 bench press reps prior to the NFL Draft and comes out of a league where the best player he’s ever faced is Deadrin Senat. As promising as Senat looked in his rookie season for the Atlanta Falcons, this is a 23-year old tackle who’s making the jump from a pond to the ocean. He’s going to need time to adjust.
John Leglue’s roster status with the Broncos
Best case scenario Leglue is headed for the Broncos practice squad for a year. As I mentioned in my first stab at the Broncos final 53, Mike Munchak’s previous exposure to Jake Rodgers gives him a leg up. Additionally, Chaz Green, Don Barclay, and Jake Brendel bring NFL experience with them to camp. Chances are Leglue’s fighting to make an impression to stick around and develop his body for a year in order to compete for a spot on the active roster down the road.