Who are three Denver Broncos players on offense that have the most pressure on them this upcoming season not named Russell Wilson? Whether that means maintaining a high level of play or simply playing at a higher level, there are several options that have pressure on them this upcoming season.

Jerry Jeudy in a contract year for the Denver Broncos

Jerry Jeudy showcased how elite of a wide receiver he could be last season when he was utilized properly. From a route-running standpoint, there isn’t a defensive back out there that can cover him one on one.

Jeudy understands how to beat man coverage and knows how to attack the soft spots when defenses are playing zone coverage. The first three years of Jeudy’s career haven’t gone how he has planned, but his main focus is set on showcasing what he can do.

His rookie season was impacted by various drops. In 2021, he suffered a high ankle sprain during Week 1 against the New York Giants which held him out for nearly seven weeks. Upon his return, former offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur failed to look his way and he ended the season with zero touchdown catches.

2022 would be Jerry’s breakout year, but it came late in the season after former head coach Nathaniel Hackett failed to maximize Jeudy’s usage during the first part of the year. Jeudy’s effective breakout came against the Kansas City Chiefs where he hauled in three touchdown catches in the Broncos’ valiant comeback effort against the Kansas City Chiefs.

After suffering an ankle injury in Week 9 leading to him missing two weeks, he came back in a limited capacity against the Baltimore Ravens where he hauled in four catches for 65 yards while playing on a snap count. From that point forward, Jeudy would emerge as the team’s most dynamic receiver.

In the Broncos final six games, Jeudy led the team in receiving yards during that stretch — putting up 523 yards receiving, three touchdowns, and hauling in 37 catches upon his return from injury.

With Sean Payton’s arrival, the biggest question is whether or not he can maximize what Jeudy and the receiving corp can do well. If Jerry Rosburg can find a way to do that, Payton can on an entirely different level. After the Broncos picked up Jeudy’s fifth-year option, he’ll have a chance to earn himself a contract extension this upcoming season if he produces at an efficient rate.

Can Garett Bolles bounce back after a major injury?

After suffering a major leg injury in Week 5 last season, Garett Bolles is back and looks ready to go during Broncos OTAs. The pressure on Bolles is more relative due to his contract which is expiring in the next two seasons and having to perform at a high level once again coming off of the injury.

Payton and the Broncos have invested heavily in the offensive line this offseason, adding Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers to the mix. It’s evident that size and physicality are important aspects of what Payton envisions for his offense and McGlinchey and Powers are pillars of what he’s looking for.

For Bolles, when he was playing under former offensive line coach Mike Munchak, there were times when he would pull from the left side of the field to the right side in the run game. This is something that Denver might get back to this upcoming season.

Bolles, Quinn Meinerz, and Lloyd Cushenberry are the only returning starters on the offensive line, but time is of the essence for them to help get things on track. Not only did the offensive line struggle to get the run game going, they also struggled to protect Russell Wilson and Brett Rypien last year who were sacked a combined 65 times.

With McGlinchey securing a long-term deal at right tackle, they’re banking on the fact that he can uphold his end of the bargain. With Bolles contract nearing it’s conclusion, the pressure is on him to play at a high level to secure yet another extension.

If Bolles struggles this year, Denver could technically move on after this season where it would free up nearly $16M in cap space while only incurring a $4M dead cap hit. The reason this is brought up is related to the trade rumors Bolles was linked to earlier this offseason, but nothing formulated with other teams.

2023 is a big season for Bolles who can re-establish himself as one of the team’s best offensive lineman if he bounces back from last year’s injury.

It’s now or never for Lloyd Cushenberry

Lloyd Cushenberry is one Denver Broncos player on offense who faces pressure to perform at a high level this upcoming season. One of the biggest knocks on Cushenberry’s career to this point has been his strength against bigger defensive lineman.

Cushenberry is one of the smartest and most athletic offensive linemen on the Broncos roster but still has more room to grow. He’s started in every game that he’s ever played in the NFL.

Last season, he suffered a season-ending groin injury right before the team’s bye week which left the team with more questions heading into the offseason than answers. With the arrival of new offensive line coach Zach Strief, and new strength and conditioning coach Dan Dalrymple, Cushenberry looks noticeably bigger and stronger during Broncos OTAs.

Sean Payton has already publicly said that he views Cushenberry as the starter at the center position, but as he approaches the final year of his rookie deal it’s time for him to take the next step to showcase that he’s the Broncos long-term center option.

In the 2023 NFL Draft, the Broncos drafted Oregon center Alex Forsyth who will have a chance to compete in training camp. They signed veteran offensive lineman Kyle Fuller in NFL Free Agency and Luke Wattenberg enters his second season with the team after being drafted last year.

It won’t be an easy road for Cushenberry, but he’s got all of the tools to piece things together. Many forget that player development in the NFL isn’t a linear path and he could very well progress in his fourth year in the league. An argument can also be made that Cushenberry and the rest of the Broncos’ offensive line haven’t had continuity since he came into the league with various scheme and coaching changes.

Maybe Payton and Strief can be the change the Denver Broncos offensive line and Cushenberry have desperately needed.