The Broncos have a succinct plan as to how they plan to improve their team in the offseason, and it appears the offensive line is their number one priority.
The Broncos offensive line was a liability at times during the 2015 season, and the goal will be to get better protection for Brock Osweiler in 2016. The running game also suffered as C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman got off to slow starts, and there was not much room to run to start the season.
Gary Kubiak acknowledged it's a position the club will look to upgrade this offseason.
"I would think of it this way: first off, I think we’re young, and so I like our future from that standpoint. At the same time, we feel like we definitely have to improve, so does that make it a high priority? I don’t know. We’re gonna prepare for this draft at every position just like we do each and ever year," Kubiak said at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday. "But obviously it’s a position that we feel like we need to improve upon offensively."
There is no guarantee that the offensive line will look anywhere close to the same in 2016. Evan Mathis and Ryan Harris are free agents and if the team chooses to let them walk, they will need depth at left tackle. Franchise left tackle Ryan Clady may also wind up being a cap casualty in the offseason, after missing the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. Clady will count as $10.1 million against the cap in 2016, and the team could save approximately $9 million by letting him go. They could ask Clady to take a pay cut, but there is certainly no guarantee he will be back with the team.
"I think what you see in our league is if you have a stable left tackle, Pro Bowl player, you can help the other (linemen) a lot in certain situations and stuff," Kubiak said. "If you’re not in that predicament, it’s hard to help two guys, especially with great pass-rushers and defensive coordinators that move people around, that makes it more difficult."
The Broncos will look to build their line through the draft, which is as good a strategy as any in the NFL.
Images Courtesy of Keystone Press