James Palmer: ‘Broncos think Risner will be a 10-time Pro Bowler’

Denver Broncos offensive tackle Dalton Risner (66) and offensive tackle Garett Bolles (72) block for quarterback Joe Flacco (5) in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at Empower Field at Mile High.
Sep 15, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos offensive tackle Dalton Risner (66) and offensive tackle Garett Bolles (72) block for quarterback Joe Flacco (5) in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos haven’t had a sturdy offensive line since before Peyton Manning retired, but according to NFL Network’s James Palmer, they think that will finally change this season.

“We should give the big boys up front a little bit of credit here, Palmer said. “You have Garett Bolles, who played some of his best football, in the Broncos’ mind, when Drew Lock was in there. Then you have the left guard, in Dalton Risner, who they believe as a rookie last year, was their best offensive linemen, so in year two they’re expecting a big jump. They think he’ll be a 10-time Pro Bowler.”

According to Pro Football Focus, Palmer is right that Bolles’ play improved a ton with Lock under center. Each of Bolles’ three highest-graded performances all came with Lock at quarterback, and his average PFF grade jumped from 64.2 with Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen at quarterback, to 75.9 with Lock.

“Then the interesting part is the right side of the line,” Palmer said. “These were their last two top free-agent targets each of the last two seasons. Remember Ja’wuan James, they made him arguably the highest-paid right tackle in all of football two years ago, only played about 30 snaps for them. He’s back. And then Graham Glasgow who they brought in from the Lions. These were all big targets for them.

“This is all surrounding a rookie that’s going to be at the center spot, and the more people I talk to there, they think he’s extremely intelligent, has wowed them. Could be a different group up front protecting Drew Lock in his first year as a starter.”

If the Broncos offensive line really does take a sizable leap forward and also considering the offensive weapons added this offseason, Lock will have no excuse to fail in his first year starting.

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