The Denver Broncos' offensive line has been retooled heading into the 2020 NFL season. Gone are two starters from last year — Connor McGovern and Ronald Leary.
The Broncos' interior, especially, is poised to look radically different than last year's iteration. In free agency, Denver landed one of the most sought-after interior linemen in Graham Glasgow, signing him to a four-year deal worth $44 million.
The plan is for Glasgow to start at right guard in Denver. Combined with the incumbent starter at left guard — Dalton Risner — Glasgow's arrival could see things upfront improve dramatically for the Broncos.
That's how Joe Marino of The Draft Network seems to view it. When it came to ranking the best guard duos in the NFL, Risner/Glasgow checked in at No. 5.
5. Denver Broncos: Dalton Risner and Graham Glasgow
Dalton Risner, a Day 1 starter for the Broncos, claimed the left guard job and was outstanding. He did not allow a sack in 15 of 16 games and was flashy as a run blocker. He should take a big step forward under the direction of offensive line coach Mike Munchak in his sophomore season.
Graham Glasgow recently joined the Broncos on a four-year, $44 million contract after a standout run with the Lions.
Risner played very well as a rookie, as Marino opines. But even though he made the perennial All-Rookie teams, Risner was dissatisfied with his 2019 campaign because it didn't result in Pro Bowl and All-Pro nods.
When it comes to individual goals and expectations for himself, Risner sets the bar high. That confidence trickles throughout the entire starting five and even the offense.
Risner's influence seemed to have a calming and galvanizing effect on left tackle Garett Bolles, at least down the stretch. With Munchak coaching these big boys up, we could see the left side of the Broncos' line take a big leap forward in 2020.
Glasgow is a great addition at right guard and will help stabilize that side of the line. Last year's prized free-agent pickup, Ja'Wuan James, projects as the starting right tackle — health-willing.
That leaves open the center slot. Three players figure to vy for that starting job, including holdovers Patrick Morris and Austin Schlottman, as well as rookie third-rounder Lloyd Cushenberry III.
My money's on Cushenberry to win that battle, even as a rookie. Blocking for Heisman Trophy-winning QB Joe Burrow, Cushenberry helped lead the LSU Tigers to a National Championship last year. He's talented and savvy player hand-picked by Munchak.
It's hard to see Cushenberry coming up short in that battle but one thing I've learned in the seven years I've been covering the NFL is that when it comes to rookies, it is unwise to take anything as a given. He'll have to earn it. And that's as it should be.