Broncos OL Preview: Lloyd Cushenberry, Quinn Meinerz ready to battle for starting center spot

Editor’s note: Fifth in a series previewing each Broncos position group entering the start of training camp next Tuesday.

The Broncos’ merry-go-round at quarterback, four consecutive different Week 1 starters, is only matched by their instability at center.

In 2018, Matt Paradis broke his ankle and left for Carolina. In ’19, Connor McGovern had a solid season and left for big money with the New York Jets. And last year, third-round rookie Lloyd Cushenberry played all 1,075 offensive snaps.

But the Broncos have interestingly declared center an open competition when training camp begins next week, the team adding third-round pick Quinn Meinerz to challenge Cushenberry.

Interesting because Cushenberry grew as last year went along — The Denver Post’s game charting booked him for 15 pass-rush “disruptions” (four sacks) in Games 1-8, but only four (one sack) in Games 9-16.

Cushenberry expected competition to be added, “based on how I played last year. … We’re going to push each other. Whoever steps up, that’s who’s going to get the job.”

Center is the main starting competition along the offensive line, which returns left tackle Garett Bolles, left guard Dalton Risner and right guard Graham Glasgow. Newcomer Bobby Massie is the favorite to start at right tackle.

Who’s back

LT Garett Bolles (first round 2017), LG Dalton Risner (second round ’19), RG Graham Glasgow (free agent ’20), C Lloyd Cushenberry (third round ’20), LT Calvin Anderson (free agent ’19), OT Quinn Bailey (undrafted free agent ’19), C Patrick Morris (waivers ’19), G Netane Muti (sixth round ’20) and G/C Austin Schlottmann (undrafted free agent ’18).

His fifth-year contract option declined, Bolles began last year with his future in doubt, but by late November had signed a four-year, $68 million contract extension. He gave up only a half-sack in 15 games.

At guard, Risner is eligible for a contract extension next March, but must be more consistent — he wasn’t booked with an allowed sack last year, but gave up 13 1/2 “disruption.” Glasgow’s initial year with the Broncos was slowed by injury and COVID-19, but he was solid when healthy.

Among the backups, Anderson will compete against veteran Cam Fleming for the swing back-up tackle spot and Muti is likely the No. 3 guard.

Who’s new

RT Bobby Massie (free agent), C Quinn Meinerz (third round), RT Cam Fleming (free agent), OT Cody Conway (undrafted free agent), OT Drew Himmelman (undrafted free agent) and G Nolan Laufenberg (undrafted free agent).

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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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