Paton rallies from the 63 pick hole to have what looks like a solid draft. Montrell Washington is the new comeback of the Broncos.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Even without taking an offensive tackle in the draft – and they almost did – the The Broncos are loaded with competition along their offensive line, especially at their inside guard and center.
Garett Bolles locked in the left tackle spot, but the four positions to his right – left guard, center, right guard and right tackle – have 10 competing blockers.
At left guard, Dalton Risner believes he has more serious competition this year from Netane Muti and Billy Turner, who is out this offseason recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, Tom Compton and Ben Braden.
At center, Lloyd Cushenberry III will be challenged by returning veteran right guard Graham Glasgow, who is still limited as he recovers from his mid-season broken leg, sixth-round pick Luke Wattenberg, Braden and maybe Quinn Meinerz.
At right guard, Meinerz, who replaced injured Glasgow mid-season last year, is the man to beat but Glasgow, Turner, Compton and Braden will have a chance.
At right tackle, Turner will need to get healthy in training camp to fend off Compton and Calvin Anderson – who is currently working with the No 1 unit.
>>Video above: George Paton and Nathaniel Hackett react to Broncos draft
It’s a serious competition with a new set of coaches – head coach Nathaniel Hackett, offensive coordinator Justin Outten, offensive line coach Butch Barry and assistant offensive line coach Ben Steele are all new to the Broncos this year – picking the top five.
“Oh, there are,” Hackett told 9NEWS of the offensive front competition after Saturday’s draft. “Coming into all of this, talking to George (Paton, the general manager), I think one of the critical factors in this position is flexibility. I think you want a lot of guys who can play left tackle, guard left, center, right It’s something after my experiences, especially in Green Bay, we had a lot of shuffling, there were a lot of people moving around.
“You never know who’s going to be the top five, and you never know who’s going to be the top five at the end of the season. As coaches, we have to have enough guys who can play in different positions, to play at those places and play at a high level, so we want to have a lot of good big men up front because that’s where it all starts.
From a hole of 63 pickaxes
There were 63 players who came off their draft board — including four who were selected by their AFC West rival, the Kansas City Chiefs — before the Broncos had a chance to sign a player. They took rusher Nik Bonitto at No. 64. Did the Broncos feel like they rallied to their 63-pick hole?
“I think we did it,” Paton said. “We finished with 9 picks, I think we helped our football team. We added more depth in defense. I think we added three players in attack, so I feel good. I feel good there where we are. It doesn’t end with the draft. You’re still looking. But I like where we are right now.”
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“First of all, I think we were in the hole for a reason,” Hackett said.
Indeed, the Broncos could have started their draft with the No. 9 draft pick and supported it with the No. 40 pick in the second round. But all things considered, they preferred to have quarterback Russell Wilson instead. As he thought back to his first draft as head coach, did anything strike Hackett about his new group of rookies?
“It’s funny, we were looking at the board and saying, we’ve got a lot of badass,” Hackett said. “I think that’s so important. Guys who like the ball. Who want to go out there. And they like that aspect of the toughness of the game. I think every one of those guys fulfills that role.”
The most exciting player the Broncos took on Day 3 of the draft was Samford returner/receiver Montrell Washington. Many scoffers pitched him for the 7th round or as an undrafted college free agent, but the Broncos valued his comeback game more. Washington had three touchdown returns last season. As Broncos release Diontae Spencer, is Washington the Broncos returner from the jump?
“Yeah. Well, we’ll see. He has to earn it,” Paton said. “We like his returning skills. He has lunge receiver skills. He’s explosive. We think he’s a dynamic returner, both as a punt returner and as a kick returner. foot.”
RELATED: Broncos Take CB Mathis, DT Uwazurike, Washington Returner To Highlight Final Draft Day
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