In a recent interview for the Denver Broncos, General Manager George Paton admitted the Denver Broncos need to pursue and find a solution at the right tackle spot “for the next several years” and do it “this offseason”. For people like myself, this is a pretty encouraging sign because the offensive line will determine how far this team can really go.
Paton’s full quote:
“I think it’s going be a pretty strong tackle draft. There’s some good ones here. We need to fill that void. Bobby did a nice job, but we need to solidify that position for the next five, six years or however long it is. I hope to do so this offseason. Maybe we bring Bobby back — he did some really good things. Calvin Anderson did some good things. Fleming did some good things. So some way or another, we’re going to fill that void at tackle.”
So how can they do it? What are some potential solutions for the Broncos to consider as long-term answers?
Draft a RT in 2022
The 2022 class, while not quite the 2021 class, still has some pretty good offensive tackle prospects in it. It gets a little concerning trying to project any to move over to right tackle and play in an outside zone team, but there are a few fits.
If they draft one early, Charles Cross from Mississippi State makes plenty of sense. I’ve already broken him down, as well as Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu, here, but he’s about as pro-ready as you’re going to get at the 9th overall pick.
If the Broncos are looking for a Day 2 solution, Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning, UCLA’s Sean Rhyan, Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann, and Louisiana’s Max Mitchell would fit, but each are pretty raw or come with some question marks of their own right.
If they want a Developmental Day 3 pick, Southern Utah’s Braxton Jones, Florida’s Jean Delance, UTSA’s Spencer Burford, Washington State’s Abraham Lucas, and Ohio State’s Nicholas Petit-Frere all fit to an extent, but they’re Day 3 picks. It’s pretty risky to gamble on the guys in this class after passing on last year’s class.
Sign a free agent
Good luck finding one in free agency, but there are a few potential names they could consider with a position switch.
Joseph Noteboom is a potential free agent and has put together plenty of quality reps with the Rams. Given the bevy of free agents the Rams will have to pay, there’s an off chance he could slip through.
They could also re-sign Calvin Anderson and try him out there. Anderson played well for the team this season, and bringing him back as a potential option shouldn’t be ruled out.
Riley Reiff is a free agent this year. While he’s not a long-term option, he’s a viable stopgap starter/backup in this scheme.
Other than that, you’re aiming for guys either out of their price range in Terron Armstead, Cam Robinson, or Duane Brown or backups like Tyrell Crosby, Jamarco Jones, Blake Hance, and Will Richardson. This is definitely my least favorite option because good right tackles RARELY hit free agency. They’re so scarce.
Trade for one
Now here’s where it gets interesting. The Broncos certainly have the capital to pull off a trade for a tackle, and there are some options out there.
The first one that stands out to me is Mike McGlinchey from San Francisco. While it isn’t entirely realistic to assume San Fran would trade away their starting right tackle, the Broncos could offer enough to make it a conversation. McGlinchey isn’t a perfect pass protector, but his run blocking is excellent, and he’s both young and talented enough to fit the bill for what Paton is looking for.
The Cowboys have been reportedly unhappy with La’el Collins, and they got some pretty solid play out of Terrence Steele while Collins was out last year. Many have even commented that Dallas should move him inside to guard (sacrilege-stop moving good tackles to guard). Denver would and should be plenty interested.
The previous coaching staff in Houston was pretty unhappy with Laremy Tunsil. His injury caused him to miss a “longer than imagined time period” last season, and the previous coach, David Culley, made several ambiguous comments on Tunsil. With much of the previous staff being retained under Lovie Smith, that overall sense might still linger. In the middle of a rebuild, Houston will be looking for as many picks as possible. Tunsil started his professional career at right tackle and could make sense if the Broncos are willing to cough up the asking price.
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