Last week in his presser at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, John Elway made it clear that although the team is looking to improve the roster across the board, they specifically want to "get better" on the offensive line.
Two of last year's starters on the O-line, Orlando Franklin (LG) and Will Montgomery (C), will be unrestricted free agents, when the NFL free agency period officially opens on the afternoon of March 10th. Since the hiring of new head coach Gary Kubiak and his staff, there have been reports that the Broncos are looking for two, or three, starters on the O-line.
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Manuel Ramirez, who started games at center and right guard in 2014, is still under contract with the Broncos, but taking into account the new direction of the offense, and Ramirez's 2015 salary cap hit ($3.16M), he could be a cap casualty.
There have been conflicting reports, as to whether the Broncos want to retain Montgomery. If they choose to let him go, they'll have only one center under contract, not counting Ramirez--last year's sixth round pick, Matt Paradis. Kubiak has reportedly been impressed with Paradis, which makes sense, because at 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, Paradis has the size and skill-set to be effective in the zone blocking scheme.
Regardless of what happens with Montgomery, the Broncos will almost certainly acquire another center, whether it's via the free agent market or the NFL draft. With an eye towards the draft, MHH has learned that the Broncos have an interest in Auburn center Reese Dismukes.
Over the weekend at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Dismukes met with the Broncos, along with at least nine other teams. At 6-foot-3, 296 pounds, Dismukes is a relatively squat center prospect, who possesses the footwork, athleticism and lateral quickness to be a natural in the zone blocking scheme.
Dismukes was a four-year starter at Auburn and enters the NFL draft as a two-time First Team All-SEC selection, and was voted as the nation's top center as a senior. At the Senior Bowl, I watched him compete with some of the best defensive line talent in the country, and came away impressed.
He struggles, at times, with powerful nose tackles, but despite his lack of top-end strength, the combination of his football IQ., footwork, agility and motor makes him a very intriguing option for NFL teams running the zone blocking scheme.
He is currently Scout.com's No. 2 center prospect, behind only Florida State's Cameron Erving. I could see him going as high as the early second round, but more likely, somewhere between the late second, to middle third round.
MHH's resident drafnik, Erick Trickel, was impressed with Dismuke's performance at the Combine and could possibly see the Broncos trading back and out of the first round, and taking Dismukes in the top half of the second.