The second-most important position on the offensive side of the ball is the left tackle position. The Broncos have yet fill that hole since Ryan Clady went down with a torn ACL in 2015.
John Elway and Company thought they found their future left tackle in Garett Bolles when they selected him in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Don’t forget that offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was pounding the table for Bolles in 2017.
The former first rounder has started every game at left tackle, but has struggled game after game giving up sacks and leading the NFL in penalties among offensive lineman. It’s time to make a move at the blind side.
Ja’Wuan James signed a four-year, $51 million deal with the Broncos in the offseason, with $32 million guaranteed, to play right tackle. With James missing most of the season so far due to injury, head coach Vic Fangio said that James will play this week against the Texans. James shouldn’t play right tackle to finish the season, though.
With Elijah Wilkinson being steady at right tackle this season, the Broncos need to try James out at left tackle and see if he can be the guy at that position or if he can show some promise in the final four games. Wilkinson can show that he deserves a contract extension with a strong ending to the season, as well.
With the Broncos having no chance at making the playoffs why not experiment with this offense?
If James ends up playing well and showing something at the left tackle, this would help the Broncos in the offseason through free agency. This could help save Denver some money in free agency so that the Broncos can try and re-sign Chris Harris Jr. or even Justin Simmons instead of spending more money on the offensive line.
James can also help the Broncos go in a different direction in the NFL Draft. With Harris expected to leave in free agency, Denver can then target the top cornerback in the NFL Draft. Or they could even look at the top safety if they lose out on Justin Simmons, as well.
Drew Lock should more than likely being the starting quarterback for the Broncos next season and that could also help the Broncos focus on who to draft in the first round that’s not a quarterback. If they could eliminate left tackle as a “need,” as well, that’d be a huge step in the right direction.
The Broncos might not realize it yet, but if Ja’Wuan James can be the franchise left tackle for the Broncos, Denver can speed up the time table on this teams rebuilding process.