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George Paton: ‘We need to upgrade at the offensive line’

The Broncos general manager indicated that the team needs to improve their offensive line.

NFL Combine Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Denver Broncos general manager George Paton met with the media today at the NFL scouting combine. During his press conference, he was asked about the Broncos offensive line and he told reporters that “we need to upgrade at the offensive line”.

Paton was also asked about Garett Bolles health moving forward and Paton indicated that they do expect him healthy moving forward. That was expected, but still good to hear regardless.

After commenting on Bolles, Paton indicated that there are multiple ways to acquire a player during the offseason. He indicated that it comes down to what is stronger, free agency or the draft, and then doubled down on needing to upgrade the offensive line.

“We need to upgrade at the offensive line. We do expect Garett to be healthy. There’s a lot of different ways to acquire any position—free agency, the draft. It just kind of depends on what’s stronger. Is free agency stronger or the draft stronger? Obviously, we need to upgrade there on the offensive line.”

The Broncos have needed to upgrade at offensive line for a few years now. Previous regimes have tried, and failed at doing this and now Paton and Payton will try to do the same.

Garett Bolles is coming off a season-ending injury, but is potentially your starting left tackle. Now, there is conflicting reports on whether or not he is on the trade block, but it wouldn’t make sense to open up another hole by trading him. So, I would personally expect him back at left tackle, but we shall see. Sean Payton is now in town and may want to go in another direction.

Dalton Risner, your starting left guard is an impending free agent and it does not appear that he will be back. Paton’s comments seem to indicate that as well. Bringing back a player that played on the same offensive line that you want to upgrade does not make much sense. Risner has also had his struggles and had that sideline altercation late in the season that may not make him a fit with the team moving forward.

Center Lloyd Cushenberry had high expectations after he was drafted in the third round, but he has failed to live up to these expectations. He has struggled on the field and struggled with injuries this past season. He is still under contract, but I believe this is one of the positions they want to upgrade.

At right guard, we have one of the players I expect Sean Payton and the Broncos to build around. He is arguably the Broncos best offensive lineman and is really coming into his own as a player. Hopefully, with a new offensive line coach and offensive staff in town that they can continue his development and help him grow into an even better offensive lineman moving forward.

Right tackle for the Broncos has been an issue for over a decade now. Last season, Cameron Fleming was added prior to the start of free agency and played fairly well at right tackle. I would not be opposed to bringing him back, but the Broncos really need to find an answer at this position.

Broncos head coach Sean Payton knows how important having a strong offensive line is. With the Saints, he consistently had a good unit, and had two of the better tackle pairings in the league with Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk. Both were players they drafted and developed so hopefully, they can do the same here in Denver.

The Broncos do not currently pick until the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, so I would expect them to address their tackle and potentially their guard/center needs during free agency. You can find starting guards and centers in the mid-rounds of the draft, but we shall if they decide to go that route with this draft class.

It sounds like offensive line is the Broncos top need entering free agency so we shall see what moves they decide to make during that period.