Demar Dotson Shares What Heard About Drew Lock Before Signing with Broncos
Demar Dotson has been keeping an eye on the Denver Broncos for at least a week and a half. But as a veteran with 11 years of NFL experience, he's heard a few things, too, especially as it relates to Denver's young gunslinger. More on that shortly.
Dotson signed with the Broncos earlier this week to step in and serve as offensive tackle depth on a unit that suffered a major blow when starting right tackle Ja'Wuan James decided to opt-out of the 2020 season citing coronavirus concerns.
Thanks to a sit-down with KUSA's Mike Klis, we now know that when Dotson heard the news of James' opt-out, he quickly instructed his representatives to reach out to the Broncos to express interest. After languishing on the free-agent market all year, Dotson's interest in Denver was reciprocated.
“I was just being patient and then this corona started hitting and guys started opting out,’’ Dotson told Klis. “I had actually seen that Ja’Wuan had opted out. So I had my agent reach out and tell them I’m interested.”
While it remains to be seen just how large of a role Dotson will have on the Broncos offensive line, he'll at least be a backup. With Elijah Wilkinson, the incumbent who started 12 games at right tackle last year in place of the then-injured James, still recovering somewhat from an offseason surgery, it's a virtual guarantee that the Broncos will begin rotating Dotson in at some point with the first-team offense.
At 6-foot-9, 315 pounds, Dotson makes for one heck of a protector for any quarterback. Although he might have initially hoped that he'd be blocking for Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, the QB he'll now be tasked with keeping clean and upright is none other than the second-year Drew Lock. Here's what Dotson's heard about Denver's young gunslinger.
“I heard he’s really fired up and has got a lot of energy,” Dotson told Klis. “I’ve heard nothing but good stuff about him. I haven’t got a chance to see him play yet but everybody pretty much loves him.”
None of what Dotson said should be surprising to Broncos Country. Anyone paying attention last year could see that Lock energized the Broncos when he entered the starting lineup in Week 13 and would go on to provide a badly-needed infusion of enthusiasm and passion.
Word gets around. What Dotson has picked up from the grapevine is that Lock's teammates "love" playing with him. No doubt, despite their relatively vast age difference (23 vs. 34), Lock and Dotson will become fast friends, too.
In Klis' insightful write-up, we also learned what the real terms of Dotson's one-year contract with the Broncos are.
He got a one-year deal that has $400,000 guaranteed and another $100,000 bonus if he makes the Broncos’ 53-man roster for week 1. He can make up to $3 million if he hits incentive thresholds. For now, the Broncos’ plan is for Dotson to back up Elijah Wilkinson at right tackle and have Garett Bolles start a fourth season at left tackle.
If Klis says the plan "for now" is for Wilkinson to maintain his status as the first-team right tackle, fans can take that to the bank. But similarly to former President Bill Clinton's definition of the word 'is', it all comes down to understanding what "for now" means.
Based on what I know and have been told, I take it to mean that as the incumbent, right tackle is Wilkinson's job to lose. Dotson will push him and my bet is that it'll start soon in the form of O-line coach Mike Munchak rotating Dotson in with the first-teamers to give him the chance to truly audition.
Let's not forget; Wilkinson has exactly 12 career starts under his belt at right tackle. Meanwhile, Dotson has more than 100. Given the chance to show his stuff, even if it begins on the second-team offense, it shouldn't take long for Dotson's veteran competency to jump out quickly to Munchak and his assistant Chris Kuper.
It all depends on how the Broncos plan to split up reps. The coaches would be remiss, in light of the 10 sacks and 32 QB pressures Wilkinson relinquished last year, to not give Dotson an audition.
Dotson gave up 34 QB pressures last year, two more than Wilkinson, but was only credited with five sacks allowed according to Pro Football Focus. The important distinction here is that Dotson started 15 games for the Bucs — three more than Wilkinson.
“First of all, I’m going to do what the team asks me to do,’’ Dotson said told Klis. “If that’s to start, that’s to start. If that’s to back up, that’s the back up. I’ve been a starter the last eight years in the NFL. My mindset is I want to play on Sunday. I haven’t stood on the sideline since 2011.
“Obviously, I still believe I can play. I believe I still have something to offer. I want to bring that to Denver. I’m going to give it my best but whatever they ask me to do, whatever their plans are for me, I’ll do whatever they ask me to do.
“If that’s an opportunity to compete or an opportunity to come in and be a backup and bring my presence and be a mentor and help those young guys, that’s what I’ll do.”
Dotson will wear jersey No. 78. Starting on Friday, August 14, the Broncos will begin training camp in earnest with helmets and shells. It'll be the first full-squad practice of the summer with the rookies/QBs/injured players finally being merged with the veterans for the on-field proceedings.
Dotson's NFL story is a remarkable one. Be sure to click Klis' story over on 9NEWS and read about how the former basketball star bumbled his way into an NFL opportunity but made the absolute most of it.