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Broncos roster review: tackle Calvin Anderson

Could this be the year that Calvin finally turns into a starting tackle?

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It’s well documented that offensive line coach Mike Munchak is known for turning undrafted and day three offensive linemen into starters in the NFL. Calvin Anderson has now had two plus seasons of tutelage from the Hall-of-Famer.

Calvin Anderson

Experience: 3 years
Height: 6-5
Age: 25
Weight: 300 lbs
College: Texas

After the draft where the Broncos failed to draft an offensive tackle for the fifth straight draft I figured it was because Anderson has turned into a starter. Admittedly, Dalton Risner is an emergency tackle for the Broncos, according to the coaches. The Broncos signed two free agent offensive tackles from the bargain bin after the draft, Cameron Fleming and Bobby Massie. Massie is now the putative starter, but we still will have a very cheap group of offensive tackles.

Here is a list of the cap number for 2021 for the OT group (in millions)

Bolles - 5.0
Massie - 2.3
Fleming - 1.7
Anderson - 0.9
Drew Himmelman, Cody Conway, Quinn Bailey - 0.7

If you add that up, our entire tackle group will have a cap hit of twelve million for 2021. Their are 22 offensive tackles with cap hits bigger than that by themselves in 2022.

Back to Anderson, he has started two games for the Broncos and has played a total of 132 offensive snaps, all in 2020. He started one game at LT, in the lone game that Bolles has missed during his career. He started the other at right tackle as part of the revolving door of right tackles that the Broncos have had since what feels like forever.

According to PFF and Sharp Football Analytics, Anderson was not very good in 2020. PFF gave Anderson an overall grade of 55.1. Anderson allowed seven QB pressures and blew three blocks in the run game. For comparison, Bolles, who played eight times as many snaps, allowed only 13 pressures (less than one per game).

Anderson could very well blossom into a starting tackle. It does take some guys a number of years to reach their potential and Anderson is still relatively young. It would appear that his path to a starting role in 2020 involves one of three things if it’s going to happen

  1. Both Massie and Fleming are terrible and get benched
  2. Both Massie and Fleming get hurt
  3. Anderson plays so well in training camp and the preseason that he earns the starting RT job

I don’t really see #3 happening, but it could. He will be someone that I will be watching during the preseason to determine whether or not his game has improved since last season.