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State of the Broncos roster: Massive improvements on the interior offensive line

Two lineman stepped up in a major way this year for the Denver Broncos.

Houston Texans take on the Denver Broncos during week 13 of 2023 NFL season Photo by RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

I believe that the Denver Broncos have a top-5 interior offensive line following this season. Ben Powers was solid in the run game, Lloyd Cushenberry played efficiently and was almost never an issue up front, and Quinn Meinerz has emerged as one of the best guards in the league.

Let’s take a look at the roster.

Ben Powers

Contract status: Signed through 2026

Age: 27

2023 review: Ben Powers was one of the two big-money free agents that were brought in for the 2023 season, and he ended up arguably being the better one of the two. Coming from the Ravens, Powers was known as a great run blocker, with Sports Info Solutions ranking him 3rd among all linemen in 2022. All though he was not the 3rd-best run blocker this year, he still did a solid job up front in that facet of the game.

Where most of his struggles happened were in the passing game. Too often would he give up an inside rushing lane to Russell Wilson, and he also would have some issues picking up stunts and blitzes. Overall though, he was a solid asset to have this year and will be a key piece of the offensive line moving forward.

Lloyd Cushenberry III

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent

Age: 26

2023 review: Lloyd Cushenberry is in the running for the “most improved” player out of not just the lineman, but of any position group. Maybe it helped that he was heading into a contract year, but Cushenberry looked like a completely different player this season. The way he was able to take command of the line of scrimmage was great to watch. And his pass protection was among the best in the league. He hardly even gave up a pressure this season. He worked well in the run game alongside Meinerz and Powers and gelled the line together.

It’s unsure if the Broncos will be able to resign him this offseason. We’ll take a look at his backup in a moment. And there are some solid prospects in this year’s draft. If things work out, I would love for Denver to bring him back.

Quinn Meinerz

Contract status: Signed through 2024

Age: 25

2023 review: There was not another guard, according to PFF, that was better in the run game than Quinn Meinerz was this season. He was dominant from start to finish, and 2023 was a big step up in ability, but this was not something that just came out of the blue like Cushenberry did. This season was just a continuation of skills that he has shown us since draft day. Meinerz is the best lineman that the Broncos have had in over a decade and, I don’t think it’s a hot take to say, he is trending toward being one of the greatest Broncos offensive linemen ever.

They need to pay the man. Even if it means losing Cushenberry or others.

Alex Forsyth

Contract status: Signed through 2026

Age: 24

2023 review: The 2022 All-Pac 12 center was drafted by the Broncos in the 7th round of the 2023 draft and played in all three preseason games. We don’t have too much to go off of besides his college film, but I do think that Forsyth is a good talent and brings needed depth to this unit. He is a good NFL center who can be turned into a starter, and that might happen depending on what Denver decides to do this offseason.

He was Bo Nix’s center in college, for what it’s worth.

Luke Wattenberg

Contract status: Signed through 2025

Age: 26

2023 review: Luke Wattenberg was drafted by the Broncos back in 2021, and he would see action in eight games during the 2022 season, and he would start a game against the Chiefs in Week 14. The guard/ center provides good depth and his game experience may give him the edge over Forsyth.

Will Sherman

Contract status: Signed through 2024

Age: 24

2023 review: Will Sherman was originally drafted by the Patriots in 2021 and was waived by them in August 2022 after playing in just one game. The Broncos signed him in September 2022, promoted him to the active roster in January 2023, and then he would be waived and then resigned to the practice squad.