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Published on 04/17/2008 at Thu Apr 17 11:51.
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[Ryan Clady]

Today’s three part series focuses on offensive tackle. We’ll tell you why the Denver Broncos should use their first round choice in the 2008 NFL Draft on an offensive tackle, why they should not, then let you tell us with our fan poll. Enjoy!

When building an NFL football team, I’m a big believer in fortifying a few key positions first: a franchise quarterback, a dominating left tackle, and a dynamic, pass rushing right defensive end. The Broncos have Jay Cutler. They have a real pass rushing threat in Elvis Dumervil. But at left tackle, we’re left with unknowns.

Matt Lepsis has retired, and in his wake has left a depth chart full of questions at his position. Ryan Harris is a promising prospect, and the coaches are said to be high on him, but they only have college tape and practice to rely on. Will he be fully recovered from his back surgery? Will it be something we have to worry about for years on end? Chris Kuper played decent at left guard, but I didn’t see enough last year for me to believe he’s the answer at LT. Erik Pears played poorly at RT.

I think there’s a good chance one of these guys will become a really good tackle. But I don’t count on finding two dominating tackles out of this group. The need is there.

What’s more, this year’s tackle class has been called by one NFL scout as the best in 24 years. Seems like a prime time for the Broncos to be near the top of the draft order, doesn’t it? And here we sit at 12, the highest spot the Broncos have naturally landed in recent memory.

To me, quite simply, it seems foolhardy not to pick a tackle. It’s among our biggest needs, and the value will be there with a good degree of certainty.

At the three positions of importance, I don’t want just ‘good enough.’ I want perennial Pro Bowlers. Kuper and Harris strike me as the kind of guys that’re just good enough to get the job done. I want more. I want Super Bowls. And I think the biggest step the Broncos can take in reaching that is to take either Ryan Clady or Chris Williams in the first round of this year’s draft.

  • kerry

    we absolutely have to have a top LT in the first round this year. that also, like DT, is not even a debate. sure an OT isnt the sexy pick, but it sure will keep our franchise QB healthy. and an OT’s shelf life is an average of 8-10 years. so he be the guy to protect Cutler for the next decade. we dont ever pick this high and we NEED a franchise LT. protecting Cutler is the MOST IMPORTANT way for this team to make any sort of a playoff or super bowl run. no cutler, no playoffs. plain and simple. we protect cutler and we will go alot further. this isnt even a debate. alot of people thing a RB is gonna run us straight to the super bowl and that is non sense. cutlers arm and his health is gonna take us further. and that all starts with the OL and LT is the most important position on the O-line. we need depth and a franchise player. Chris Williams, Ryan Clady, possibly even Brandon Albert. i be satisfied with either one of those guys. but me personally im pulling for Williams.

  • Kyle

    Great points Kerry. I agree completely, though I’m pulling for Clady. Be sure to voice your opinion in the poll!

  • kerry

    kyle id be happy with either. Clady is great and very agile. so is Chris Williams. its really a toss up. but i will bet if Clady is there then we will take him over Williams. but either way we will have a guy who can protect cutler for years to come. i dont see how shanahan goes any other way. he moved up to take cutler and put the franchise on cutlers shoulders, now he has to protect his investment in Cutler.