By most projections, the Broncos’ offensive line should get stronger this year as it added veteran free agent Graham Glasgow at right guard plus a solid rookie in Lloyd Cushenberry to compete for starting center.
But as with most units, the true strength of the offensive line lies in the strength of its backups - so the Broncos will be counting on players like Austin Schlottmann, who saw playing time in 2019, to compete for depth spots. And with the expanded roster this season, there’s a possibility the Broncos go with four backups for the line.
#71 Austin Schlottmann
Age 24, 6-foot-6, 300 pounds
College: Texas Christian
After spending 2018 on the practice squad, Schlottmann played all 16 games last season and was called in for starter duty for four of them when Ron Leary was out for injury.
The former Horned Frog’s stats aren’t all that impressive - playing just 261 snaps (26%) and being solely responsible for only one penalty, a false start, and one sack. But he didn’t stand out for terrible play, and that in and of itself is something - especially in the trenches.
Austin Schlottmann introduced as the starting RG. Big moment for him. Ron Leary still working his way back.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 20, 2019
Although Schlottmann didn’t stand out for multiple penalties or sacks, his time as starter wasn’t particularly great but was aided by Drew Lock’s ability to get out of the way and avoid sacks.
Sack rates for Bronco QBs in 2019 (sacks/dropbacks):— Joseph Mahoney (@ndjomo76) December 31, 2019
Drew Lock 3.13%
Joe Flacco 9.03%
Brandon Allen 9.68%
Lock arguably had a worse OL with Austin Schlottmann and Jake Rodgers protecting him in multiple games.
The second-year lineman will be competing for a backup spot at guard and possibly center along with Elijah Wilkinson, Netane Muti and Patrick Morris. If Muti can stay healthy, the rookie mauler could make his way into a starting position at guard and be Schlottmann’s main competition while Cushenberry will be pushing to start at center.
Head coach Vic Fangio has already mentioned Schlottmann’s name in the OL competition ring.
Vic Fangio said Lloyd Cushenberry will compete with Austin Schlottmann and Patrick Morris.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) April 25, 2020
If Schlottmann can build on his experience last season, he could easily find himself on the roster and be a solid stand-in if (when) the time will come.
And if Mike Munchak believes some experience on the line is needed while Cushenberry or Muti get acclimated to the NFL - especially in this mostly virtual offseason - then Schlottmann could discover that his talents are needed in the early weeks of the season.
How do you see Austin Schlottmann fitting into the Broncos’ roster this season?
This poll is closed
Backup at guard, maybe center
Possible starter at center until Cushenberry gets up to NFL speed
Back to the practice squad
Not on the roster