Nobody knows how important it is to protect your quarterback than Broncos’ General Manager John Elway. Elway has been proactive trying to build the offensive line over the past few years by signing free agents and working the top rounds of the draft. At times it seems as if the Broncos didn’t have bad luck they would have no luck at all. But competition makes a good horse run and the Broncos took a swing at tackle Garett Bolles who has all the physical tools to succeed but will need technique work to elevate his game. His athleticism and hand strength are among the tops in this draft class. He is learning the left tackle position for the Broncos and is competing with Ty Sambrailo for the job. So far in OTAs, Bolles has demonstrated quick body control, lateral quickness, and athletic ability. He has been working out of a three point stance and learning a pro style offense terminology. Bolles has also had positive reps against Von Miller. Defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker projects to be a valuable part of the Broncos’ front rotation. The rangy defender opened eyes in OTAs with his first step explosiveness, ability to rush the passer, and his film study work. The mature, quick twitch defender is one of those talented guys who is never satisfied. Carlos Henderson has been impressive in camp with his ability to make defenders miss and his ability to go after the ball. His natural feel to return kicks will be important. Henderson played running back prior to Louisiana Tech and runs like a back after the catch. He’s still growing as a receiver. Corner Brendan Langley is the newest member of the Broncos no-fly zone. His other value is that of a special teams’ coverage player after the Broncos lost a pair in free agency. Langley is also in the punt return mix. Tight end Jake Butt will participate for the first time during preseason drills in the late summer. He is still recovering from ACL surgery. Butt will be competing with Virgil Green and Jeff Heuerman for a starting position once healthy. Isaiah McKenzie is a speedy natural hand catcher who will help the Broncos’ punt return game. Jordan Norwood lost five costly fumbles last year and Kalif Raymond lost two more for a total of seven from the two top return specialists. McKenzie is electric in the open field and is projected to contribute at slot receiver, running back, and kick return specialist. De’Angelo Henderson has knocked off some explosive touchdown runs in OTAs. The small college running back has a compact build and runs with good balance and lateral quickness. He catches the ball well out of the backfield. He scored 64 touchdowns and broke several Coastal Carolina records. Combine numbers were 5074, 208, 4.48/40, 4.57/SS, and 7.26/3 cone. Chad Kelly did not participate in OTAs or mini-camps due to a variety of injuries suffered in 2016. The athletic signal caller was drafted by the Broncos after a strong recommendation from his Hall of Fame uncle, Jim Kelly. The only consistency Kelly has shown in his career is his bad decision making on and off the field. He will have about two years to clean up his act to compete for a starting job. By that time, Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch should have the job solidly in hand. If not, Kelly may be the guy. GRADE: GOOD.
FREE AGENCY: Guard Ron Leary was the Broncos’ big ticket offseason free agent acquisition to help shore up an inconsistent offensive line. Menelik Watson was also brought in to compete for the right tackle spot. Defenders Domata Peko (DT), Zach Kerr (DT), Kasim Edebali (OB), and Chris Lewis-Harris (CB) were added for depth. Former Denver nemesis running back, Jamaal Charles, comes over from Kansas City and Bronco defensive end Billy Winn was re-signed.
NOTABLE UNDRAFTED COLLEGE FREE AGENTS: Kyle Sloter (Northern Colorado) QB, Orion Stewart (Baylor) SS, Dymonte Thomas (Michigan) FS, Jamal Carter (Miami) SS, Deon Hollins (UCLA) WLB, and Tyrique Jarrett (Pittsburgh) NT.