Available OT options for Broncos to consider in wake of Ja'Wuan James' injury


In their loss to the Oakland Raiders, the Denver Broncos saw their offensive line get controlled at the line of scrimmage. The Broncos need to be better if they want to have much of a chance this year. 

Denver's biggest area of weakness right now is right tackle. Before he got hurt, Ja’Waun James was not playing well. Now that he is hurt and will miss several weeks with a sprained knee, the need grows.

Elijah Wilkinson stepped up in his place and put together a really bad performance. Denver’s tackle depth is atrocious and there just aren't many options out there. If only Denver had five preseason games to realize that their tackle position was an issue and made a move to fix it.

One option the Broncos could pursue, and likely the move they make, is to call Rodgers up from the practice squad. Rodgers was playing well in the preseason and looked like a starting-capable right tackle. What issues he had were when he was moved over to the left side, where he was dominated, especially in the preseason finale.

Rodgers isn’t an ideal option because of his play at left tackle, but at this point, there isn’t any ideal option. Each option will have a flaw of some sort. 

So, what OT options are there on the open market? Not many, which can make it more of an emergency for Denver to go get one.

Ryan Schraeder: A former Atlanta Falcon, he had his best years in the Kyle Shanahan offense, which Denver uses a variation of. Schraeder is a great scheme fit, but another RT-only option. It is a risk because he has had a couple down years, but if the Broncos can get him back to form, it could do wonders for the unit. He would be a big upgrade over Wilkinson.

Jermey Parnell: He is a bigger, stronger tackle option that has some concerns with his movement skills. A zone scheme is not ideal for him, but he can be a huge help in the run game between the tackles. Even though he isn’t a scheme fit, he is a better option than Wilkinson and offers some LT ability.

Trent Williams (trade): Now for those that will suggest trading for a LT, like Williams, there are a few obstacles with that. The first issue is, despite his issues, Garett Bolles isn’t the major problem on the Broncos O-line right now. The issue is at RT and getting Williams wouldn’t help fix that particular problem.

“Well, just move Bolles to right tackle then,” you might say.

The issue with that is moving from left to right is a lot more difficult than some fans realize. Bolles would have to relearn his technique to play off the right side, and with how little he has grown in three years as a LT, there should be no confidence he can grow for RT, especially in the span of a week. Moving Bolles simply isn’t an option.

The last issue is Williams would only be a bandaid and with the plethora of depth issues the team suffers from, the Broncos need their draft picks. Williams is a great LT, but with James down and Wilkinson playing badly at right tackle, acquiring Williams does nothing to fix that issue.

Bottom line

Denver is stuck in a bad spot with what to do at right tackle. It isn’t the only position that was pathetic against the Raiders, but with the injury to Ja'Wuan James, it is the highest priority right now. 

The Broncos have to try and do something because sitting idle just isn’t going to cut it.

Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel and @MileHighHuddle. 

Comments (6)
No. 1-3

How do you invest all that $ in J. James? Besides QB, offensive line and middle linebacker were the glaring problems with this team last year. The O- line got worse. They passed on Devin Bush in the draft. The management of this team is horrid. Sorry Elway, loved you as a player but you stink as a GM, please step down.

Steve Atwater 27
Steve Atwater 27

Risner plays OT he can kick back out there, or keep Wilkerson in there, and get Corey Levin in at guard, OR Levin also plays centre, play him there, move Connor back to guard. Levin is a starter. If Leary keeps dragging his butt, thats who's next. I sure woulda liked Tunsil instead of James, too bad he wasn't available back when. Picking up an OT at this point might be tough.

1 Reply



That is a lot of moving parts to work right now and take a lot of time to build chemistry. Still a few solid RT options that just upgrades depth/Wilkinson.

As for Leary, it was his first game action since last Oct. Some struggles were to be expected.


Um, I think I will leave this to Mike Miunchak. If there is a developmental or position switch solution, he is weighing all the options.