With the injury to Ja’Wuan James, the Denver Broncos find themselves in familiar position. The position of having a big fat question mark starting at right tackle. I have documented how over the past eleven drafts the Broncos have generally NOT drafted offensive tackles. The Broncos have drafted exactly three (Orlando Franklin, Ty Sambrailo and Garett Bolles). That becomes four if you include Dalton Risner who played tackle in college, but has played guard at the NFL level.
Over the last eleven drafts the Broncos have drafted four offensive tackles which is tied with two other teams for last place over that time period (in terms of number of drafted tackles). This does not mean that the Broncos have completely neglected the offensive tackle position in the draft. If you count Risner, every tackle we have drafted has been a first or a second round pick. So the Broncos have invested a decent amount of draft capital in offensive tackle even if the total number of picks is not great.
The data is below for players drafted as “tackles” (some are guards in the NFL) by team for the years 2011-2021:
|Rank||Team||OTs drafted 2011-2021||Draft Capital Invested||Investment per OT|
The Broncos check in at 19th in draft capital invested in offensive tackles (again, still counting Risner as a tackle) with the Dolphins leading the league and the Panthers dead last in OT draft capital. Looking at the Dolphins they have gotten their ten starting offensive tackles during the last five seasons once from a free agent signing (Branden Albert), once from a trade (Julie’n Davenport), once from an undrafted college free agent that they developed (Jesse Davis) and seven times from players that they drafted. The Panthers have had four free agents (Mike Remmers, Matt Kalil, Chris Clark and Russell Okung) along with six instances of player that they drafted. Two of their free agents are former Broncos.
Like the Broncos the Chiefs have only drafted four offensive tackles in the last eleven drafts, but the Chiefs rank first in draft capital per OT - with 14.5 AV units per pick. That equates to an average of using the 23rd pick in terms of career AV by draft slot. The Broncos are tied for fourth with the Lions at 11.3 AV units. That equates to the 39th overall pick. The team with the least average capital per tackle is the Cardinals. The have taken eight OTs but have only averaged 3.9 AV units per tackle. That equates to the 124th overall pick which is a day three pick.
Over the last eleven drafts their have been 205 offensive tackles drafted and the league has invested 1528.4 AV units on the position. That works out to 7.5 AV units per tackle which equates to 70th overall pick. For reference, there was 156.7 AV units of draft capital spent on the QB position in the 2021 draft on ten players for an average of 15.7 AV units per pick which equates to 19th overall pick on average. The first three QBs taken (with picks one, two and three) accounted for two thirds of that draft capital (92.4 units) while the remaining seven QBs accounted for the other third.
The Broncos have only had two starters at left tackles over the past five seasons, Okung in 2016 and Bolles ever since. Conversely they have had a different player as the main starting RT every season since 2016. That will continue in 2021.
Five years of mostly ineptitude at RT for the Denver Broncos. pic.twitter.com/MFzLx06bQi— Joseph Mahoney (@ndjomo76) May 6, 2021
The only primary starter at offensive tackle that the Broncos have used over the past five season who was drafted by the Broncos is Bolles. Elijah Wilkinson was an undrafted college free agent that the Broncos developed. The other five primary starting tackles that the Broncos have employed since we won the Super Bowl have been free agent signings. Okung, Donald Stephenson, Menelik Watson, Jared Veldheer and Demar Dotson. Even though Wilkinson had more snaps at RT, he only started seven games there while Dotson started eight - hence Dotson is listed as the primary starting RT, not Wilkinson.
This brings us to the point of how other teams have acquired their offensive tackles over the past five seasons.
Of the possible 320 primary starting OT spots in the NFL over the past five seasons, 189 of those spots have been filled by players drafted by the team for which they were playing. That is almost 60 percent. About one quarter have been free agent signings, while about one eighth have been undrafted college free agents developed by the team for which they were starting. Only four percent of the starting OT spots have been filled by players who were acquired via trade. Note that players drafted with a pick obtained via trade are still counted as “drafted” and not as “trade” in the massive table that is to follow.
Correlation is not causation, but 4 teams have had a different starting RT every year since 2016: DEN, LV, NYG and AZ. All have missed playoffs every season since 2016. 3 teams that have had the same starting RT every year since 2016. All 3 have made playoffs at least once. pic.twitter.com/QTf0IX5AZ5— Joseph Mahoney (@ndjomo76) May 6, 2021
This format is a little easier to read than the image I dropped in my twitter feed above.
|BUF||LT||Cordy Glenn||Draft||Dion Dawkins||Draft||Dion Dawkins||Draft||Dion Dawkins||Draft||Dion Dawkins||Draft|
|BUF||RT||Jordan Mills||Free agent||Jordan Mills||Free agent||Jordan Mills||Free agent||Cody Ford||Draft||Daryl Williams||Free Agent|
|MIA||LT||Branden Albert||Free agent||Laremy Tunsil||Draft||Laremy Tunsil||Draft||Julie'n Davenport||Trade||Austin Jackson||Draft|
|MIA||RT||Ja'Wuan James||Draft||Ja'Wuan James||Draft||Ja'Wuan James||Draft||Jesse Davis||UDCFA||Robert Hunt||Draft|
|NE||LT||Nate Solder||Draft||Nate Solder||Draft||Trent Brown||Trade||Isaiah Wynn||Draft||Isaiah Wynn||Draft|
|NE||RT||Marcus Cannon||Draft||Marcus Cannon||Draft||Marcus Cannon||Draft||Marcus Cannon||Draft||Micahel Onwenu||Draft|
|NYJ||LT||Ryan Clady||Trade||Kelvin Beachum||Free agent||Kelvin Beachum||Free agent||Kelvin Beachum||Free agent||Mekhi Becton||Draft|
|NYJ||RT||Ben Ijalane||Free agent||Brandon Shell||Draft||Brandon Shell||Draft||Brandon Shell||Draft||George Fant||Free Agent|
|BAL||LT||Ronnie Stanley||Draft||Ronnie Stanley||Draft||Ronnie Stanley||Draft||Ronnie Stanley||Draft||Orlando Brown||Draft|
|BAL||RT||Rickey Wagner||Draft||Austin Howard||Free agent||Orlando Brown||Draft||Orlando Brown||Draft||D.J. Fluker||Free Agent|
|CIN||LT||Andrew Whitworth||Draft||Cedric Ogbuehi||Draft||Cordy Glenn||Trade||Andre Smith||Draft||Jonah Williams||Draft|
|CIN||RT||Cedric Ogbuehi||Draft||Andre Smith||Draft||Bobby Hart||Free agent||Bobby Hart||Free agent||Bobby Hart||Free agent|
|CLE||LT||Joe Thomas||Draft||Spencer Drango||Draft||Greg Robinson||Free agent||Greg Robinson||Free agent||Jedrick Wills||Draft|
|CLE||RT||Austin Pasztor||UDCFA||Shon Coleman||Draft||Chris Hubbard||UDCFA||Chris Hubbard||UDCFA||Jack Conklin||Free Agent|
|PIT||LT||Alejandro Villanueva||UDCFA||Alejandro Villanueva||UDCFA||Alejandro Villanueva||UDCFA||Alejandro Villanueva||UDCFA||Alejandro Villanueva||UDCFA|
|PIT||RT||Marcus Gilbert||Draft||Chris Hubbard||UDCFA||Matt Feiler||UDCFA||Matt Feiler||UDCFA||Chukwuma Okorafor||Draft|
|HOU||LT||Duane Brown||Draft||Chris Clark||Trade||Julie'n Davenport||Draft||Laremy Tunsil||Trade||Laremy Tunsil||Trade|
|HOU||RT||Chris Clark||Trade||Breno Giacomini||Free agent||Kendall Lamm||UDCFA||Tytus Howard||Draft||Tytus Howard||Draft|
|IND||LT||Anthony Castonzo||Draft||Anthony Castonzo||Draft||Anthony Castonzo||Draft||Anthony Castonzo||Draft||Anthony Castonzo||Draft|
|IND||RT||Joe Haeg||Draft||Joe Haeg||Draft||Braden Smith||Draft||Braden Smith||Draft||Braden Smith||Draft|
|JAX||LT||Kelvin Beachum||Free agent||Cam Robinson||Draft||Ereck Flowers||Free agent||Cam Robinson||Draft||Cam Robinson||Draft|
|JAX||RT||Jermey Parnell||UDCFA||Jermey Parnell||UDCFA||Jermey Parnell||UDCFA||Jawaan Taylor||Draft||Jawaan Taylor||Draft|
|TEN||LT||Taylor Lewan||Draft||Taylor Lewan||Draft||Taylor Lewan||Draft||Taylor Lewan||Draft||David Quessenberry||Free Agent|
|TEN||RT||Jack Conklin||Draft||Jack Conklin||Draft||Jack Conklin||Draft||Jack Conklin||Draft||Dennis Kelly||Free Agent|
|DEN||LT||Russell Okung||Free agent||Garett Bolles||Draft||Garett Bolles||Draft||Garett Bolles||Draft||Garett Bolles||Draft|
|DEN||RT||Donald Stephenson||Free agent||Menelik Watson||Free agent||Jared Veldheer||Free agent||Elijah Wilkinson||UDCFA||Demar Dotson||Free Agent|
|KC||LT||Eric Fisher||Draft||Eric Fisher||Draft||Eric Fisher||Draft||Cameron Erving||Trade||Eric Fisher||Draft|
|KC||RT||Mitchell Scwartz||Free agent||Mitchell Scwartz||Free agent||Mitchell Scwartz||Free agent||Mitchell Scwartz||Free agent||Mike Remmers||Free Agent|
|LV||LT||Donald Penn||Free agent||Donald Penn||Free agent||Kolton Miller||Draft||Kolton Miller||Draft||Kolton Miller||Draft|
|LV||RT||Austin Howard||Free agent||Marshall Newhouse||Free agent||Brandon Parker||Draft||Trent Brown||Free agent||Sam Young||Free Agent|
|LAC||LT||King Dunlap||Free agent||Russell Okung||Free agent||Russell Okung||Free agent||Trenton Scott||UDCFA||Sam Tevi||Draft|
|LAC||RT||Joe Barksdale||Free agent||Joe Barksdale||Free agent||Sam Tevi||Draft||Sam Tevi||Draft||Bryan Bulaga||Free Agent|
|DAL||LT||Tyron Smith||Draft||Tyron Smith||Draft||Tyron Smith||Draft||Tyron Smith||Draft||Brandon Knight||UDCFA|
|DAL||RT||Doug Free||Draft||La'el Collins||UDCFA||La'el Collins||UDCFA||La'el Collins||UDCFA||Terence Steele||UDCFA|
|NYG||LT||Ereck Flowers||Draft||Ereck Flowers||Draft||Nate Solder||Free agent||Nate Solder||Free agent||Andrew Thomas||Draft|
|NYG||RT||Booby Hart||Draft||Justin Pugh||Draft||Chad Wheeler||UDCFA||Mike Remmers||Free agent||Cameron Fleming||Free Agent|
|PHI||LT||Jason Peters||UDCFA||Halapoulivaati Vaitai||Draft||Jason Peters||UDCFA||Jason Peters||UDCFA||Jordan Mailata||Draft|
|PHI||RT||Halapoulivaati Vaitai||Draft||Lane Johnson||Draft||Lane Johnson||Draft||Lane Johnson||Draft||Lane Johnson||Draft|
|WAS||LT||Trent Williams||Draft||Trent Williams||Draft||Trent Williams||Draft||Donald Penn||Free agent||Cornelius Lucas||UDCFA|
|WAS||RT||Morgan Moses||Draft||Morgan Moses||Draft||Morgan Moses||Draft||Morgan Moses||Draft||Morgan Moses||Draft|
|CHI||LT||Charles Leno||Draft||Charles Leno||Draft||Charles Leno||Draft||Charles Leno||Draft||Charles Leno||Draft|
|CHI||RT||Bobby Massie||Free agent||Bobby Massie||Free agent||Bobby Massie||Free agent||Bobby Massie||Free agent||Bobby Massie||Free agent|
|DET||LT||Taylor Decker||Draft||Taylor Decker||Draft||Taylor Decker||Draft||Taylor Decker||Draft||Taylor Decker||Draft|
|DET||RT||Reiley Reiff||Draft||Rickey Wagner||Free agent||Rickey Wagner||Free agent||Rickey Wagner||Free agent||Tyrell Crosby||Draft|
|GNB||LT||David Bakhtiari||Draft||David Bakhtiari||Draft||David Bakhtiari||Draft||David Bakhtiari||Draft||David Bakhtiari||Draft|
|GNB||RT||Bryan Bulaga||Draft||Justin McCray||UDCFA||Bryan Bulaga||Draft||Bryan Bulaga||Draft||Billy Turner||Free Agent|
|MIN||LT||T.J. Clemmings||Draft||Riley Reiff||Free agent||Riley Reiff||Free agent||Riley Reiff||Free agent||Riley Reiff||Free agent|
|MIN||RT||Jeremiah Sirles||UDCFA||Mike Remmers||Free agent||Brian O'Neill||Draft||Brian O'Neill||Draft||Brian O'Neill||Draft|
|ATL||LT||Levine Toilolo||Draft||Jake Matthews||Draft||Jake Matthews||Draft||Jake Matthews||Draft||Jake Matthews||Draft|
|ATL||RT||Ryan Schraeder||UDCFA||Ryan Schraeder||UDCFA||Ryan Schraeder||UDCFA||Kaleb McGary||Draft||Kaleb McGary||Draft|
|CAR||LT||Mike Remmers||Free agent||Matt Kalil||Free agent||Chris Clark||Free agent||Dennis Daley||Draft||Russell Okung||Free Agent|
|CAR||RT||Daryl Williams||Draft||Daryl Williams||Draft||Taylor Moton||Draft||Taylor Moton||Draft||Taylor Moton||Draft|
|NOR||LT||Terron Armstead||Draft||Terron Armstead||Draft||Terron Armstead||Draft||Terron Armstead||Draft||Terron Armstead||Draft|
|NOR||RT||Zach Strief||Draft||Ryan Ramczyk||Draft||Ryan Ramczyk||Draft||Ryan Ramczyk||Draft||Ryan Ramczyk||Draft|
|TAM||LT||Donovan Smith||Draft||Donovan Smith||Draft||Donovan Smith||Draft||Donovan Smith||Draft||Donovan Smith||Draft|
|TAM||RT||Demar Dotson||UDCFA||Demar Dotson||UDCFA||Demar Dotson||UDCFA||Demar Dotson||UDCFA||Tristan Wirfs||Draft|
|AZ||LT||Jared Veldheer||Free agent||D.J. Humphries||Draft||D.J. Humphries||Draft||D.J. Humphries||Draft||D.J. Humphries||Draft|
|AZ||RT||D.J. Humphries||Draft||Jared Veldheer||Free agent||Andre Smith||Free agent||Justin Murray||UDCFA||Kelvin Beachum||Free Agent|
|LAR||LT||Greg Robinson||Draft||Andrew Whitworth||Free agent||Andrew Whitworth||Free agent||Andrew Whitworth||Free agent||Andrew Whitworth||Free agent|
|LAR||RT||Rob Haverstein||Draft||Rob Haverstein||Draft||Rob Haverstein||Draft||Rob Haverstein||Draft||Rob Haverstein||Draft|
|SF||LT||Joe Staley||Draft||Joe Staley||Draft||Joe Staley||Draft||Justin Skule||Draft||Trent Williams||Trade|
|SF||RT||Trent Brown||Draft||Trent Brown||Draft||Mike McGlinchey||Draft||Mike McGlinchey||Draft||Mike McGlinchey||Draft|
|SEA||LT||George Fant||UDCFA||Duane Brown||Trade||Duane Brown||Trade||Duane Brown||Trade||Duane Brown||Trade|
|SEA||RT||Garry Gilliam||UDCFA||Germain Ifedi||Draft||Germain Ifedi||Draft||Germain Ifedi||Draft||Brandon Shell||Free Agent|
Unless Dalton Risner moves to RT for the Broncos (which seems highly unlikely since he has played almost every snap for us at LG over the past two seasons), the Broncos will have either another in a long line of free agents as our primary RT, or we will have Calvin Anderson. Anderson would continue the tradition of the Broncos relying on undrafted offensive tackles as starters. A tradition that goes back at least to the late 90s with Tony Jones.
As of right now, the Broncos have
four five offensive tackles on the roster with the very recent signing of Ryan Pope. Pope has never played in an NFL regular season game, and neither has Drew Himmelman (who we signed as an UDCFA after the 2021 draft). Bailey has appeared on eight special teams snaps in NFL career. Calvin Anderson is the “veteran” of the potential RTs currently on the roster and he has 132 career offensive snaps.
Who will be our primary right tackle in 2021?
This poll is closed
a free agent who is not currently on the roster