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Broncos Player Profile: Ben Braden #64 | Interior Offensive Line

Next up is a 2022 free-agent acquisition in Ben Braden.
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One move the Denver Broncos made in free agency was adding Ben Braden, who is familiar with the new coaching staff. Head coach Nathaniel Hackett, OC Justin Outten, and O-line coach Butch Barry have a tough job ahead of them to figure out who the five best offensive linemen are and which four players make the best depth pieces. 

The question is, how much does Braden play into that conversation? Let's dive into his resume in hopes of predicting the answer. 

Biography

Braden is 28 years old and was born in Michigan. He stayed in-state for college, attending the University of Michigan. 

College Career

While at Michigan, Braden was a three-year starter from 2014-16. He played a total of 2,433 snaps on offense over the three years. During that span, he allowed 50 total pressures, with 19 in each of his last two seasons. 

In his first year, Braden allowed his collegiate high of three sacks before allowing only one and then two over the last two years. In addition, he was quite capable in pass protection, even with Michigan being a nearly 50/50 run/pass team. 

Braden was also a competent run blocker and helped Michigan have successful running games. He was on to the NFL with three solid years under his belt. 

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Draft

Braden didn't hear his name called in the NFL draft and then signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent. 

Professional Career

Braden has bounced around in the NFL over his first five NFL seasons after spending the 2017 and 2018 campaigns with the Jets and most of 2019 — but he was released from their practice squad in September 2019. 

That led to his first stint with the Green Bay Packers beginning September 12, 2019. He lasted until November 7, when he was released from the practice squad. 

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The Jets brought Braden back for the rest of the 2019 season and most of the 2020 offseason, but they waived him on August 3. He then landed with the New England Patriots, but he didn't even last a month. 

After that, Braden got his second chance in Green Bay, signing in October 2020 and lasting through the 2021 season. During his time there, he got to see the field in 2020 and 2021, though he only played nine snaps on offense. 

In January 2022, the Packers let him go, and he found his way to the Denver Broncos on March 14. 

2022 Outlook

Unless he has taken a dramatic step with his development, it's unlikely Braden will find a starting job, but he has a shot at the 53-man roster. He could use help, maybe in the form of a rival getting traded, but the coaching staff is familiar with him, and it has been made clear it wants him in Denver. 

It will be interesting to see whether Braden can land a spot as a depth piece on the Broncos' offensive line because eight or nine spots on the 53-man roster seem to already be spoken for. That's why a trade could help his chances. 

If Braden doesn't make the roster, there is a decent chance he finds himself on the practice squad, thanks to changes with eligibility over the past couple of years. 

The Broncos have multiple offensive linemen recovering from injuries through OTAs, so Braden needed to make the most of his opportunities there. However, come training camp, those same linemen are expected to be good to go, which will make things more difficult for Braden. 


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