The Denver Broncos have been trying to fix their offensive line for years. With a new coaching staff, one of the first moves the Broncos made under George Paton in free agency was to bring in a versatile offensive lineman in Tom Compton.
Tom Compton has plenty of experience in the NFL, and most of it has come in an offense that Nathaniel Hackett is expected to run in Denver. There is familiarity with Compton from Paton, as both spent the 2018 season with the Minnesota Vikings.
What does Compton offer the Broncos for this upcoming season?
Compton just turned 33 in early May. He was born in Minnesota, where he played high school football and was a two-year starter on the offensive line.
While in college at South Dakota, Compton was a three-time Great West Conference selection. His time in college showed that he was a capable blocker, and after his final season, he went to the NFL.
Compton got invited to the 2012 East-West Shrine game. There was also an invite to the Scouting Combine. During the draft process, some rated him as a top-ten guard in the draft. However, some analysts graded him as a fourth-round prospect.
It wasn't until the sixth round for when Compton heard his name called. He was the 193rd overall pick by the now Washington Commanders.
The first three years of his career were spent with Washington. While he played only ten snaps on offense as a rookie, he started games in year two and played over 650 snaps. His performance wasn't ideal, as he allowed 36 total pressures and six sacks. In addition, he saw time playing both left and right tackle during the season.
His playtime was cut for year three, playing only 234 snaps on offense. However, his play improved, allowing four pressures and zero sacks. Despite issues in pass protection, he was solid as a run blocker. He was mainly brought in as a sixth offensive lineman but did see 34 snaps as a left guard.
After that third season, Washington parted ways. As a result, Compton spent time with four different teams over the next four years.
First up was the Atlanta Falcons, where he played only 82 snaps and allowed four pressures. His time came at both tackle spots and as the sixth offensive lineman.
Then it was onto the Chicago Bears, where he started some games. He played 342 snaps on offense, split between both guard spots. While he allowed 14 pressures, he didn't allow any sacks.
In 2018, he had his season with the Minnesota Vikings, where he played the most snaps in a season of his career. He played 837 snaps on offense, all of them at left guard. While he did alright as a run blocker, his pass protection was atrocious, with 34 pressures and seven sacks allowed.
Compton then signed with the New York Jets, where he played 363 snaps on offense, with all but one as the right guard. Overall, it was the worst year of his career as he struggled in pass protection, which was consistent, but also in the run game.
The 2020 season was with the San Francisco 49ers, where he played 148 snaps as the right guard and allowed four total pressures. He regained his composure as a run blocker and had a solid year in pass protection.
He remained with the San Francisco 49ers for the 2021 season and saw action in weeks 9-11 as a sub player. Then, in week 12, Compton got a starting job, keeping it for the rest of the season.
Compton was starting at right tackle, and he has consistently struggled throughout his career as a tackle in pass protection. That didn't change for the 2021 season, as he allowed 27 total pressures and six sacks. However, he had the best year of his career as a run blocker.
ProFootballFocus graded him with an 89.5 in run blocking, which was the second-highest for a tackle with at least 300 run-blocking snaps. The only tackle higher was Trent Williams, the 49ers' starting left tackle.
Throughout his career, Compton got plenty of experience at multiple positions and in an outside-zone run scheme. Both are likely why the Broncos brought him in.
Compton will have a chance to start at right tackle, but he could also be part of the equation at left guard. With his versatility, the Broncos have plenty of options as they try to find their five best offensive linemen.
No matter where he ends up playing, if he does, there will be a concern over his pass protection. The Broncos will have to figure out ways to help him out there, as they have to provide more protection for Russell Wilson, which he never got consistently while in Seattle.
If they want to be a running offense, it makes sense to want Compton as a starter somewhere on the offensive line. While he is coming off the best year of his career as a run blocker, it has been an area he has done well at consistently.
There is a chance for Compton to be a starter on the offensive line, but he will be kept as a depth piece at the very least. His versatility, experience, and scheme familiarity are enough to keep him in Denver for the year.
Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel.
Subscribe to Mile High Huddle on YouTube for daily Broncos live-stream podcasts!