Let's move over to the outside edge of the O-line to the tackles - those high priced, highly intelligent, pretty boys of the offensive line - just ask them. One of my favorite stories is of Dan Dierdorf a HOF tackle out of Michigan, played in the NFL for 13 years with the St Louis Cardinals and made All-Pro five years in a row from 1974-1978 and again in 1980. Obviously, a blue blood in the NFL as to his collegiate career at Michigan followed by his outstanding NFL career. So, he gets to St Louis as a second-round draft pick in 1970 and plays two years between guard and tackle until in 1972 the Cardinals in the 5th round drafted outta Wyoming the LG next do Dierdorf by the name of Conrad Dobler. Dierdorf was not impressed - he looked at Dobler as a circus clown, a misfit who would scratch, poke, gouge and bite - all the while doing pushups on the sideline when not in the game - a total wingnut. They were to put it mildly the "Odd Couple" on the NFL offensive lines at that time. Dierdorf was a monster for his day in the 1970's at 6'4" and 275lbs, while Dobler was a scruffy tall for a guard then at 6'3" and only 254lbs, which in reality think was more like 240lbs as his playing weight, was really even then not very big, almost lean and one nasty dude as this from the famed SI writer Paul Zimmerman:
As sportswriter Paul Zimmerman said: "Conrad Dobler was mean dirty. He tried to hurt people in a bad way...he made teams that he played on better. He played hurt, didn't complain, but he was a filthy, filthy player." He made the cover of Sports Illustrated, who heralded Dobler as "Pro Football's Dirtiest Player".
I've met Dobler a handful of times, he lived off and on here in Wyoming and while his business ventures floundered, he found money in the Miller Lite commercials back in the 1980-1990's. A heckuva storyteller, great salesman just couldn't hold onto his money and would spend it freely with anyone willing to have a beer with him. He used to come into a local bar in town when he delivered beer before his commercial days and put a $100 bill on the bar and offer it to anyone that could beat him in arm wrestling - don't ever remember him not putting it back into his wallet. As Dobler often said that Dierdorf hated his guts when he first got to the Cardinals thinking his antics would cause mayhem, then soon enough Dierdorf found out that Dobler took all the heat and Dierdorf was the "peacemaker" and could clean up his mess - they became fast friends and were up until the day Conrad died earlier this year in February - heckuva a guy a Butkus type playing on the O-line.
So enough about the history between the pretty boy tackles in the NFL and rough street urchin IOL - let's look at the Broncos roster and see where we are currently at tackle:
- LT - Garrett Bolles - great story, the former Lacrosse player made good as an NFL tackle and this year may be his best season so far, he's more a lean athletic tackle at 6'5" and 300lbs, and I always envisioned him as a RT, but he's certainly made a home at LT. Will he get another extension - we shall find out soon enough.
- RT - Mike McGlinchey - a skyscraper type at 6'8" and 315lbs so a lot like Bolles in not the aircraft carrier type of NFL tackle more the lean athletic type. Outstanding run blocker with a serious weakness as a pass blocker. Long term solution at RT may not be on the roster yet, but McGlinchey does fill a need for this season and 2024 - we'll see after that where it goes.
- T/G - Quinn Bailey - at 6'6" and 323lbs would think a mauler but actually does well as a finesse type of blocker at tackle. He's the definition of a utility player as can hop in at tackle or guard and hold down to an NFL level. I'd bet he's on the 53 or PS in 2024.
- Swing Tackle - Cam Fleming - 6'5" and 320lbs - cannot say enough about Cam. A bustola for the Patriots and Giants, and really didn't look great the first season in Denver and then just blossomed. He's been invaluable when a tackle goes down to plug-n-play. Hated to see him languish unsigned as a FA and took forever to get back around to signing him - I'd have him on my roster definitely in 2024.
- LT - Alex Palczewski - a UDFA now on IR think had wrist surgery if not mistaken. Stole the show in preseason as looked every bit the part of an NFL LT. A former water polo player in college, so that speaks for itself as to his size and ability to move at 6'6" and 314lbs. Like Bolles a athletic player and see good things for Palczewski in 2024 and beyond potentially.
- Swing Tackle - Demontrey Jacobs - another UDFA outta S Florida a tetradactyl type of tackle at 6'6" and 315lbs with an incredible wingspan. Long and lean, very athletic and a raw product big time. Can he play in the NFL - well we may find out in 2024 as he'll be back to challenge for the 53-man roster as is on the PS currently, and if Bolles is traded for draft capital it could happen.
Will the Broncos invest in a tackle in this draft - so much depends upon Bolles status as a Bronco. He like a handful of Broncos have real trade value for the upcoming 2024 NFL draft - though it seems unlikely he would be traded am not discounting that as a possibility with the Broncos needs to find more talent across the board on this roster. I do see Bolles getting a potential back end first rounder pick as Chubb surprised, and Bolles healthy - less of a surprise. With that said there is a need to always upgrade the tackle position and on depth basis would see Jacobs and Fleming being somewhat vulnerable to a higher graded player in the second or third day potentially - so with that let's GO:
- Joe Alt - LT - Notre Dame - at 6'8" & 315lbs a former TE this feels like am doing former first rounder McGlinchey's scouting report. They're eerily similar in size, and background - the key difference is Alt is projected to be able to handle the LT position in pass protection which obviously McGlinchey struggles at in the RT position. Listen we're doing a notebook at this point and not the detail level that will be doing after the seasons done and we know the draft order, combine results, pro day and senior bowls, as well as a ton of tape to review. Right now, am just reviewing a few notes & highlights, and what scares me about Alt is the neo tackles that are 6'7"- 6'9" and former TE or athletic like a Ty Sombrolo the former Bronco and guess a top-level amateur skier, sure, they can move, not at the level to mirror these freakish speed rushers coming off the edge. When you go with over 6'6" dudes its normally the ones that are the aircraft carriers that succeed - the wide bodies like last year's Broderick Jones or Maletta with the Iggles or the kid with the Ravens that are tall, wide and powerful. They literally don't mirror they reset the speed rushers with their initial contact. Hard to get your rush down when you're on one knee resetting yourself - Alt like McGlinchey is more the athletic type and doesn't really possess that knockdown punch - yet he could get there. Could he be a Bronco - highly doubtful as will be drafted in the top ten picks and don't see the Broncos being there.
- Olumuyiwa Fashanu - LT - PSU - at 6'6" and 319lbs this dude is a superior athlete - a basketball player in HS who transitioned to football and played with Caleb Williams in HS. In my mind with his freakish athleticism with his size and power he's the number one tackle would take in the 2024 NFL draft. Can he be a Bronco - that all depends on the top ten picks, some would put Alt as the top tackle and going 7 or 8 and others think it's Fashanu. If he's available at say 12-15 if that's where the Broncos are picking - there's so many needs on the roster for first round talent, yet how can you not consider this dude.
- JC Latham - OT - Bama - just don't know what to say about this dude, if you like Broderick Jones, and I do then you're gonna love this guy. An uber athletic 6'6" and 360lbs with a posted 40 of 4.85 which will need to be verified at the combine - if that's true then my gawd. He's a monster, with power to burn - he's most likely available when the Bronco's pick is there so that's the decision. He could be a LT or RT for a decade in the NFL easily.
- Kingsley Suamataia - OT - BYU - 6'6" and 315lbs with a posted 4.99 40 that needs verified at combine. Good mix of size and speed. His power isn't where it needs to be in the trunk to anchor, but his feet move extremely well for his size - a solid prospect at LT but could also play RT. Riskier than the others in this first round and he could drop easily into the second round. Could he be a Bronco - not thinking the Broncos are in the risk or speculative market with their top picks in 2024.
- Taliese Fuaga - OT - Oregon State - at 6'6" and 334 with a 5.2 40 Fuaga has been a three-year starter with the Beavers. Outstanding lower body strength which might push him inside to the guard position in the NFL. His feet are quick forward and backward - not so great on the kick or slide step. Can be beat on the edge by speed rushers so ideally a RT or RG. Could he be a Bronco - highly doubtful as doesn't show anything already don't have in Bailey and too high a pick to take on a lower-level player at tackle.
- Patrick Paul - OT - Houston - at 6'7" and 315lbs with a 5.24 40 he has a collegiate 99 pass blocking grade. That's impressive though his tape doesn't show a dominant player - he's agile and knows blocking angles but lacks the power game and doesn't have a solid pass protection setup moving backwards - a lot of traits to work with but don't see the Broncos selecting Paul.
- Jordan Morgan - OT - AZ - a 6'5" and 325lb four-year senior with a 5.3 40. Simply a solid all-around player but lacks the power to be an NFL starter at this time. Could he be a Bronco - not with a second-round pick that the Broncos don't have and if get one don't see it going on Morgan being the pick.
- Tyler Guyton - RT - Oklahoma - a 6'7" and 320lb with a 5.3 40 he's quick on his feet not fast. Good solid athlete but very raw a true boom or bust prospect. Has the traits with height and wingspan but will be a developmental player. Could he be a Bronco - don't see it with Palczewski already in the pipeline and Jacobs even more matching his size and traits.
- Graham Barton - OT - Duke - a 6'5" and 314lbs with a 5.4 40 he's not a superior athletic type of player. His innate ability relies more on instinct, guile and toughness and quite frankly projects either at RT or guard in the NFL. He's been a three-year starter at LT for Duke so there's a chance he could be that guy in the NFL too. Could he be a Bronco - potentially if falls into the 4/5th round would seem more likely to be a player to then get for developmental purposes if decide Wattenberg's not going to emerge as an NFL 53-man roster player, as Barton possesses similar flexibility sans center capability.
- Amaruis Mims - LT - Georgia - been out of the lineup with an ankle, he's the beast for this year's draft at 6'7" and 340lbs with a 5.3 40, which isn't legal for a man of his size, will have to also verify at the combine. Broderick Jones is killing it as a stealer's rookie, and I expect similar from Mims and Jones was taken in the first round with 14th pick so Mims definitely with his type of game could move up the board. With Mims injury and his less than nasty disposition as plays almost non-challan at times, the games too easy for him he could drop. Really like him and would be fine with the Broncos taking him here if he's still on the board.
- Blake Fisher - OT - Notre Dame - at 6'6" and 310lbs with a 5.35 40 his 4.94 shuttle is a bottom 17% and his 23.5" vert is a bottom 8% so he'll need to improve on all of these measurables at the combine. His athleticism isn't his calling card it's his football IQ. He also is a natural knee bender and though isn't always on leverage he more often than not is and understands leverage. Could he be a Bronco, possibly, if he falls to the 4/5th round then would think more a logical pick.
- Matt Goncalves - OT - Pitt - at 6'6" and 330lbs with a 5.2 40 he's got some pop and can move. His agility in pass protection is his bugaboo and may cause him to be kicked inside as a guard in the NFL. Good strength and solid athlete - could he be a Bronco - don't see it as Bailey is already in this role.
- Troy Fautanu - OT/G - UW - at 6'4" and 317lbs with a 5.2 40 this dude looks like a brick. Have watched a number of UW games this year mainly to evaluate Penix Jr and the other players of note - this guy wasn't on my list and just kept sticking out. They wear shorts now as leggings at UW and with his square body I thought what's a center doing playing tackle. I like him, he's aggressive and he can move, see a bit of Bolles in him a fighter at LT. He might be pushed inside to guard in the NFL but my guess is like Wattenberg he's going to make a roster as a depth, utility O-lineman. Could he be a Bronco - probably not this high but if drops to 6/7th round I'd snag him as competition to Wattenberg & Bailey for the utility O-lineman.
- Rueben Fatheree II - LT - Texas A&M - the 6'8" & 315lb with a 5.35 40 with a decent 4.71 shuttle in top 58% with his height is fairly impressive but his lackluster vert of 24.5" a bottom 15% shows up in rather lethargic off the snap and in his play at times. A classic boom or bust prospect and a solid fourth round pick as that's the general definition of a fourth-round pick more often than not - I like him, he's a guy that with development could be an outstanding NFL player for years to come, or he could be in a camp and outta the NFL in a season or two, you just don't know. Could he be a Bronco - doubtful as don't see the Broncos front office with that same Elway mindset that would've been a risk move Elway loved.
- Connor Colby - OT - Iowa - a 6'6" and 311lb with a 5.1 40 and a very respectable 4.47 shuttle in the top 95% and a decent vert at 29.5 in top 69%. Seriously good athlete at the position. The "pretty boy" with the good looks and good hair, though kind of a mullet, clean that up Colby - while the rest of the O-lineman show up with wrestling cheerleaders and accounting majors as dates, Colby has the basketball cheerleader & theater/drama majors as his dates. Anyway, his issues and why he's a fourth rounder are lacks the power game for the NFL at this point. He'll be a developmental prospect that has the room to add 10-20lbs of muscle and compete for a starter gig in the NFL. Could he be a Bronco - well not in the fourth round but potentially if drops then could see it happening.
- Jack Nelson - OT - Wisconsin - at 6'7" & 311lbs with a 5.1 40 he mirrors Colby's concerns as to handling the speed to power rushers in the NFL. He's played guard but at his height the concern will be leverage inside, he's a solid developmental player as with Colby if can add another 10-20lbs of muscle then can compete at the NFL level. Could he be a Bronco - see Colby above, and he's not the same athletically as Colby so more of a risk.
- Isiah Adams - OT - Illinois - at 6'5" & 320lbs with a 5.15 40 this dude is very intriguing at a minimum with some speed and size. If as advertised a senior and still raw in pass protection, then that's a red flag - he's rated anywhere from a UDFA to a 5th round pick so giving him the benefit of the doubt. Could he be a Bronco - as a UDFA potentially not a draft pick.
- Zion Nelson - OT - Miami - he could go anywhere from the 3rd round to a UDFA. He's all over the board right now - solid 6'5" & 315lb athlete with a 5.03 40. His wingspan of 84" is in the 97% range, and his 40 in the top 89%. He lacks power and is a pass protection specialist at this point. He's got room on the frame to add 10-20lbs of muscle and then see if an NFL tackle can be what develops into. Could he be a Bronco - very doubtful as Broncos currently have a tetradactyl in Jacobs they're developing, if they feel Jacobs won't ever make it out of the PS then could see this dude if available in 6/7 round snagged by the Broncos.
- Joshua Grey - T/G - Oregon State - 6'4" and 305lbs with a 5.06 40. A senior that's had a ton of snaps. Good, experienced college player has good speed and can get to the second level. Will struggle against speed to power rushers and may be pushed inside to guard at some point. Could he be a Bronco - potentially as a UDFA, not a draft choice am guessing for Denver.
- Walker Parks - OT - Clemson - 6'5" and 300lbs with a 5.0 40. A solid athletic tackle that suffered an injury - a flyer type of guy to develop as undersized yet has high ceiling on potential athleticism. Could he be a Bronco - don't see it with Jacobs as the PS developmental tackle.
- Garrett Greenfield - OT - S Dakota State - at 6'7" and 320lbs with a 5.3 40 his size will be noticed if gets a combine invite. Am interested to see like Mauch last year from N Dakota State a brawler whereas Greenfield is more the long and finesse type does in senior bowl drills if invited. Could he be a Bronco - seriously doubt it as again Jacobs is already the PS developmental tackle.
- Walter Rouse - OT - Oklahoma - played his four years at Stanford and thought was coming out in 2023 but transferred to Oklahoma instead. A couple of years ago he was on everyones watch list as a player to watch, it just never happened for him & who knows if it's due to Stanford's program turning into muck or Oklahoma as well having a down season. A big 6'6" & 318lb with a 5.3 40 he's got a shot to play RT in the NFL. Lots of snaps in college, and he's a definite run plus blocking tackle - he's gonna struggle in pass protection and might wind up at guard in the NFL. Could be a Bronco if drops to UDFA which isn't unlikely as he's not progressing like was anticipated - he could challenge Palcewski & Bailey potentially if came here on the cheap as a UDFA.
- Xavier Truss - RT - Georgia - a big 6'7" & 320lb with a 5.4 40 was a four star out of HS and rated anywhere from UDFA to 6th round. My guess is someone grabs him in the 7th to avoid having to chase him as a UDFA. His size and body won't let him go to guard and his pass protection won't allow LT - he's a RT only type of player. Could he be a Bronco - as a UDFA potentially as has some McGlinchey type of game in him as well - that said highly doubtful.
- Jonah Monheim - T/G - USC - a 6'5" and 295lb with a 5.0 40, a former four star out of HS so there's talent there, just hasn't gotten to the size yet needed as a RT or guard in the NFL. He is a waist bender which needs coached up, he's flat out got the potential to be an outstanding blocker in the NFL. I like him as a guy someone will grab rather than let go into the UDFA pool. Could he be a Bronco - sure, he could challenge Wattenberg for that OT/G utility player as not as developed as Bailey or have the real potential to play anything other than RT in the NFL.
- Christian Jones - OT - TX - this Longhorn is a 6'6" and 328lb prospect with a 5.21 40. He's got a good skill set and is a guy that could develop in the NFL into a swing tackle at some point. Could he be a Bronco - well that depends upon where the Broncos are with Cam Fleming as he's a solid swing tackle.
- Trey Wedig - LT - Wisconsin - a former 4-star HS player at 6'7" and 315lbs would be a solid developmental player. His 5.3 40 doesn't help much, nor does his waist bender status, he does anchor well but doesn't move his feet yet more of hands type guy. Could he be a Bronco - possibly but depends on where Broncos feel Jacobs is in his development.
- Doug Nester - T/G - WVA - another former 4-star HS player and another 6'7" & 320lb player with a 5.45 40. He needs to improve on his 40 at the combine or pro day to get a draftable grade but he's most likely a UDFA. Solid developmental player, a depth guy that could be pushed inside to guard. Could he be a Bronco - maybe, would be a guy to come in and push Palczewski and Bailey potentially.
That's it for the tackles right now - keep in mind that this barely scratches the surface of guys, particularly in third day and UDFA types. Just too many to list so kind of cherry picked a few with something to offer that the Broncos might find of interest. This year the tackles are coming in large numbers with a variety of skill sets - there should be plenty of opportunity for the Broncos to find a tackle that feel can fit into the developmental phase, swing tackle or a OT/G flex type of player. As to a starter so much depends on the status of Bolles in my opinion - if he stays forget about it, if he goes then yep - will be a priority.
As always thanks for reading MHR readers and let me know what you think!