Cecil Lammey highlights draft fits for the Broncos at TE, G and C
This week, Cecil Lammey continued his position-by-position breakdowns of the class of 2022. The series will lead all the way up to the NFL Draft and is a must-read every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. He offers a look at the market as a whole, offers his list of sleepers and provides recommendations on who would be a good fit for the Broncos.
The Broncos may have needs at those positions. With Noah Fant traded to Seattle in the Russell Wilson deal, they’re down a playmaker at tight end.
Who did Cecil think would make sense in orange and blue. Here’s a breakdown:
The Broncos have Albert Okwuegbunam as the starter, but expect him to have competition for that spot in training camp. What type of tight end should the team be looking for? I think they should look for a receiving tight end who could be a weapon down the seam. They have a big-bodied blocker in free agent addition Eric Tomlinson, so it’s time to find another receiving weapon.
UCLA’s Greg Dulcich is the perfect fit for the Broncos. He’s got straight-line speed and route-running prowess that few at the position possess. Dulcich is not the devastating run-blocker some teams are looking for, but he’s a tough player who can hold the point of attack – and that’s good enough given the way he can be used in the passing game.
Dulcich can be a three-level weapon in the NFL. His straight-line speed means he can run by linebackers and safeties with ease. He keeps his head on a swivel and quickly identifies the ball in flight. This helps him adjust to passes on the fly and get to passes others at his position would miss.
If the Broncos wanted to throw a bit of a curveball at No. 64 overall, they could take Dulcich off the board with that pick. If they wait, Dulcich is probably going to be drafted sometime soon after that. I like his receiving skill set, and I like his potential to improve as a blocker. Okwuegbunam has never played a full season, so the Broncos had better be prepared to have a potential starter in place if/when he gets hurt. Dulcich is the player who will be on the board when the Broncos first pick who most closely fits the bill for what they need at tight end.
On the left side, Dalton Risner is in a contract year. His game has not yet fully developed, but now he’s back in the system he looked so good in during his rookie season of 2019. There’s a good chance that Risner flourishes this year and gets a healthy contract from the Broncos at some point during the season or quickly after the season.
It’s the right side of the offensive line that could use some work. Graham Glasgow restructured his contract this offseason to help secure his spot on the roster. He’s going to get an opportunity to push for the starting center job, but Glasgow might be the front-runner at right guard. If not Glasgow, then 2021 third-round pick Quinn Meinerz is in line for the starting job. Meinerz has starting experience from his rookie season, and he’s the type of player who is still developing his game. If he’s ready, starting Meinerz might be the best answer for the Broncos at right guard.
How about getting a player who could fill in at all five positions? What if I told you this player would be available on day three of the draft? That’s what you get with Alabama’s Chris Owens. He has experience at all five positions on the offensive line. The Crimson Tide’s starting right tackle projects inside at the pro level.
Versatility is the hallmark of Owens game. He has good recovery ability when he misses on a pass rush. Now, you don’t want a guy to miss but when he does (and they all do) you want a player who doesn’t hang his head and give up on the play. Owens will make mistakes, mostly technically, and then work hard to recover from that. With pro coaching, those technical mistakes will lessen, and his natural ability will come through. He’s tough and competitive, exactly the type of player you want in the building.
I like Lloyd Cushenberry, but I do wish he was a little more physical at center. I like his intelligence level, but there are too many times his technique is broken down by an opponent. It’s a production-based business, and that’s why 2022 is a make-or-break season for Cushenberry. The Broncos are going to give veteran guard Graham Glasgow, who has starting experience at center, the chance to push Cushenberry in camp for the starting job. Glasgow could be the starting right guard, but Meinerz may win that spot and that could push Glasgow inside (or off the team). In addition to Glasgow, Cushenberry may have to compete with a rookie center as well.
There are five or so centers to really concentrate on in this draft class, so I’ve covered most of them in this article. We’ll see around that number drafted, and I can see another five or so picked up as priority free agents after the draft.
I think Lindstrom is the player the Broncos could draft at the position. He’s got the pedigree that teams want, he’s got the strength for the position, and (most importantly) the system the Broncos run is the one that fits him best.
Lindstrom is not position versatile, having never played anything but center during his time at Boston College. While he does not have the versatility of other players in this class, Lindstrom does have valuable experience and could at least be a depth player – and a valuable one. He also has experience as a long snapper which could help him get on board with the Broncos.
Check out DenverFan.com next week, as Cecil breaks down tight ends (Tuesday), centers (Wednesday) and guards (Thursdsay). And their interior offensive line could be in flux, with five players currently vying for the three starting jobs.