The Denver Broncos' offensive tackle depth is suspect. Garett Bolles might have his fair share of inconsistencies to overcome but when he's not getting penalized, he's an above-average left tackle in the league.
Beyond him, the Broncos thought they'd be in much better shape at tackle before Ja'Wuan James opted out of the 2020 season citing COVID-19 concerns. James' throwing in the towel foisted Elijah Wilkinson onto the offensive line and much like his 2019 tape at right tackle, it hasn't been pretty thus far.
The Broncos recognized this, at least on some level, working quickly to sign free-agent Demar Dotson — an 11th-year veteran. Dotson has settled in and quickly worked his way up the depth chart, although, as it stands today, Wilkinson is still the starter at right tackle.
After Dotson, the Broncos' tackle depth careens right off a cliff. The collection of Jake Rodgers, Calvin Anderson, Quinn Bailey, and undrafted rookie Hunter Watts has the team a little less than perfectly confident in its depth.
Thus, it came as no surprise to see the Broncos place a waiver claim in for Darrin Paulo — a 6-foot-5, 315-pound rookie offensive tackle. Denver announced on Sunday that it had been awarded Paulo off waivers from the New Orleans Saints.
As the Utah Utes' left tackle, Paulo had a solid case for the 2020 NFL Draft but teams were too leery of the athletically gifted but raw tackle. The Saints signed him, where he's competed this summer.
The Broncos have always liked trenchman from any of the Rocky Mountain schools that play at altitude and have acquired many during John Elway/Matt Russell front-office era. Bolles was a first-round pick out of Utah.
The Broncos have good contacts with these schools and their scouts do a great job of staying on top of the talent emerging from altitude. Here's what we know about Paulo.
He appeared in 53 games as a Ute with 40 starts — 14 of which were at LT; 26 at RT. Paulo earned PAC-12 Conference first-team honors in 2019. Does he step in and immediately solve the Broncos' depth concerns at tackle?
Of course not. But working with venerated O-line coach Mike Munchak, the Broncos want a closer look-see to ascertain whether there might be some there there. Munchak has made Pro Bowlers out of former college free-agent tackles before.