The Denver Broncos offensive line has struggled to find continuity this season due to a constant rotation of players entering and exiting the starting lineup. Can one of the Broncos’ off-season acquisitions help as he looks to make his debut?

Denver Broncos offensive line could use Tom Compton

During NFL Free Agency, Broncos general manager George Paton brought back Calvin Anderson and signed veteran Billy Turner, and veteran offensive lineman Tom Compton to compete for the teams starting right tackle job.

Unfortunately, there never truly was competition at the position because Turner ended up having arthroscopic knee surgery, and Compton had to have back surgery after he suffered a herniated disk early in the offseason. Anderson was pegged to start at right tackle before offensive line coach Butch Barry determined that veteran Cam Fleming would start Week 1 at right tackle.

“My timeline in the spring, or in OTAs and in minicamp—I had a herniated disk,” Compton said during his media availability on Thursday. “We tried to fight it out and get injections. It wasn’t really working, so surgery was kind of my only option there. I had the surgery in July and ever since then, I’ve just been working my way back and doing the proper steps. It’s definitely been a tough deal. I’ve never had a significant injury like that. It’s always been minor—a week here and there type of stuff. It’s kind of new territory for me. There is definitely a chance I’ll play this week. We don’t know yet what role that will be. Could be starting, could be backing up, could be emergency backup, could not dress at all depending on other guys. It’s still up in the air right now.”

Fleming didn’t receive many reps during training camp with the first-team offense. Fast forward to today, the Broncos starting offensive line could project to be Anderson at left tackle, Dalton Risner at left guard, rookie Luke Wattenberg at center if Graham Glasgow is unable to go, Quinn Meinerz at right guard, and Quinn Bailey at right tackle if Fleming isn’t ready to come back from his injury yet.

So far this season the Broncos have lost starting left tackle Garett Bolles for the year due to a broken leg, Lloyd Cushenberry currently sits on short-term injured reserve, and Glasgow’s status for Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders is up in the air after suffering a shoulder injury last week against the Tennessee Titans. Right tackle Billy Turner is also on short-term IR and will miss the next four games, but could also potentially miss the rest of the season.

It’s hard to envision how an already struggling Broncos offense can improve with so much change on the offensive line whose responsibility is to help set up the run game and protect quarterback Russell Wilson. So how can Compton come in and help?

Compton’s experience in an outside zone, west coast style of offense is relevant from his time with Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers where he was an intricate part of the 49ers’ offensive line that played a bully ball style of football en route to an appearance in the NFC Championship game. The 33-year-old offensive lineman has yet to entrench himself this season in the physical side of things from a game performance standpoint but could see his first action on Sunday against the Raiders.

“Yeah, that’s a huge part of what [offensive] line does,” Compton said. “You can do all kinds of stuff in the training room, but you need to get out on the field to simulate that. That’s what these past—my practice window opened up a few weeks ago and [I am] trying to get more of that. These Thursday padded practices are gold. [I am] just trying to stack those reps and go from there. These past two weeks have been really good. [I’ve] had a lot of progress and am getting more comfortable with it.”

Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett has a player in Compton who can play either guard or tackle position, which gives them flexibility with potential lineup changes. Ultimately, the offensive side of the ball has to play better and the Raiders’ defense will present them with their easiest opponent for the remainder of the games. Even that can’t be said in complete confidence given how much the offense has regressed since Week 4.

It is worth noting that Fleming, Glasgow, and Compton were all practicing on Friday at the UCHealth Training Center.

Cody Roark is Mile High Sports lead reporter covering the Denver Broncos — Cody covers every practice, every home and away game plus community events related to the organization. He also co-hosts The Afternoon Drive with Aniello Piro on Mile High Sports Radio and is the host of the Locked On Broncos podcast. You can follow Cody on Twitter and Instagram @CodyRoarkNFL.