Ranking the most valuable additions to the Broncos’ 2020 offense

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (31) leaps over Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons (31) to score in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field.
Sep 11, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (31) leaps over Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons (31) to score in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The dust has finally settled, and outside of a few inevitable minor signings in the run-up to the season, the Broncos’ roster is set for 2020.

With that in mind, let’s look at the additions that will help shape Denver’s offense for next season and beyond.

1. Ja’Wuan James, OT, Free agency

Yes, the Broncos signed Ja’Wuan James last offseason, but he played a mere 63 snaps for them in 2019, so he’ll be making his true Broncos debut this season.

Is he the best player on this list? Not by a long shot, but in terms of value it’s hard to argue for anyone else.

Tackle is, and always has been, one of the league’s premier positions, and if it weren’t for James, the Broncos would be forced to trot out Elijah Wilkinson and Garett Bolles once again. It’s scary enough to think that one of those two will be starting at left tackle.

At worst, James should give the Broncos a league-average right tackle for the first time since Orlando Franklin in 2013. Hopefully, that will be enough to keep Lock upright.

2. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Draft

The Broncos were in desperate need of help at the receiver position from the moment they traded Emmanuel Sanders, making Jerry Jeudy’s slide to 15 nothing short of a godsend.

Jeudy is a pro-ready, star receiver whose best attributes compliment Sutton’s perfectly. He could teach a masterclass in route-running and is sure to snap more than a few ankles even as a rookie.

You could even make a compelling argument for him at the top spot, but considering he’s a rookie facing one of the weirdest college-to-pro transitions we’ve ever seen, the emergence of DaeSean Hamiltion, and the inherent value of the tackle position, James gets the edge.

3. Graham Glasgow, IOL, Free agency

The tackle situation is still shaky for the Broncos, but on the interior of their line, they should have one of the groups in the NFL now thanks to the additions of Graham Glasgow and Lloyd Cushenberry.

Glasgow is nothing flashy at guard, but he’s as solid as a rock and incredibly consistent.

Last season, he was one of just three guards (min. 700 snaps) to not allow a single sack and get flagged no more than three times. The other two were Zack Martin and Quenton Nelson, the two best guards in football.

4. K.J. Hamler, WR, Draft

Who knows how often K.J. Hamler will get on the field or what his stat line will look like as a rookie.

What we already know for certain is that whenever he steps onto the field for the Broncos, he will immediately impact and change the opposing defense.

All of a sudden, they need to spread their entire defense out, in a similar way to what they have to do to account for Tyreek Hill. They need to back those safeties out of the box, have their cornerbacks take an extra yard or two of cushion, and ask their linebackers to cover more ground.

Not only does that open up the running game, but it allows for wider lanes and easier reads for a still-developing, young, yet talented quarterback in Lock.

5. Lloyd Cushenberry, C, Draft

Lloyd Cushenberry saved the Broncos from a season-long migraine headache at center when he fell to the 83rd pick.

The only center on the roster before Denver drafted him was the entirely untested and formerly undrafted Patrick Morris.

Now, rather than having to line up Morris directly as one of prized-possession Drew Lock’s bodyguards, Denver gets the joy of starting Cushenberry instead. He was notably the only player who could slow down Javon Kinlaw at the Senior Bowl and the field general of the best offensive line in college football last season.

6. Melvin Gordon, RB, Free agency

Let’s be clear, Melvin Gordon will add an element to Denver’s offense they might not have otherwise. He’s arguably the best in the league running against stacked 8-man boxes and, as of now, he’s a much better receiver that Phillip Lindsay.

That being said, running back has become one of the league’s least-valuable position groups over the past half-decade and running backs signing second contracts have almost been unanimous busts.

It should also be noted that the Broncos didn’t really need Melvin Gordon. Yes, he’ll make the team better, but only slightly as Denver already had a more-than-capable starter and a solid stable of backs behind him.

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