The Denver Broncos will have competition this summer as they prepare for the 2023 NFL season. Denver’s seventh-round draft pick Alex Forsyth will get the opportunity to compete for the center job.

Denver Broncos center competition features plenty of intrigue

With Sean Payton taking over as the Denver Broncos head coach and new offensive line coach Zach Strief stepping in — the evaluation process for the offensive line will be entirely different heading into training camp.

In the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Broncos took Oregon center Alex Forsyth 257th overall.

Despite his draft position taken, Forsyth will have the opportunity to compete for a starting job this summer according to Broncos general manager George Paton. “[He is] just tough and smart,” Paton said in his post-draft press conference. “[We just] love the way he plays the game, and he’s going to compete like everyone else.”

Forsyth’s addition to the team allows him to join previous starter Lloyd Cushenberry, veteran Kyle Fuller, and second-year player Luke Wattenberg.

The former Oregon Duck does have previous flex versatility — having played left guard, right guard, and right tackle in previous years at Autzen Stadium.

According to Pro Football Network’s Draft Insider Tony Pauline, Forsyth is an intelligent interior offensive lineman but lacks upside.

“Forsyth is a thinking man’s center who shows great awareness and wherewithal,” Pauline said in his scouting report for Forsyth. “Oregon’s offense revolved around Forsyth in many ways, as he never had mental lapses and was always on his game. He lacks upside and doesn’t come with much scheme versatility, but Forsyth has always exceeded expectations, which is what I expect him to do at the next level.”

The Broncos’ rookie center shouldn’t focus on what scouting reports previously have said about him — with rookie minicamp approaching, he’ll have the opportunity to re-write the narrative.

During his senior year at Oregon, Forsyth started and played in 12 games and only missed one game due to injury.

What’s even more impressive about him is his collective body of work and overall durability playing 805 total snaps at center this past season.

Throughout his collegiate career, he played 1983 total offensive snaps throughout five seasons — with 1892 of them being at the center position.

He comes to the Broncos with experience and with high marks surrounding his leadership, which is an important mark Payton and Paton look for regarding the makeup of the team.

Forsyth was an integral part of the Ducks’ offensive line which allowed only five total sacks last season — whereas the Broncos’ offensive line allowed 63 total sacks in 2022 with many stemming from the interior.

He’ll compete with Cushenberry, Fuller, and Wattenberg, but he’s also a name that Broncos Country shouldn’t write off.

Often at times, a player’s draft positioning leads to speculation about what their trajectory may or may not be — but that’s disingenuous considering the long history of NFL players exceeding expectations and draft positioning to have successful careers.

New Broncos offensive line coach Zach Strief was taken as a sixth-round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft and went on to start for Payton — playing his entire career with the Saints before retiring in 2017.

If anybody knows about exceeding expectations, Strief is a prime example. While his job is to coach and get the Broncos’ offensive line back to being a focal point of Denver’s offensive success, his experience will be beneficial for all players he coaches.

For Payton, he wants to change the culture of the team’s on-field product and he’ll ultimately make the decision along with Strief regarding which player at the center position gives them the best chance to win.

Forsyth will have every opportunity to be that guy this upcoming season.

The Denver Broncos will report for rookie minicamp on May 12-14 as rookies and various other players compete for a spot on the team’s 90-man roster going into training camp.