Michael Schofield: Form Doormat To Keystone On Denver's Offensive Line

Michael Schofield has gone from being Khalil Mack's doormat to one of Denver's key offensive linemen.

Up to this point, Michael Schofield has had an interesting career with the Denver Broncos, to say the least. After being drafted out of Michigan in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Schofield struggled to acclimate to the pro level.  

A poor showing in the preseason of his rookie year left many fans and media to call for his release early on. Though carried on the 53-man roster, Schofield was inactive for all 16 games in 2014.

Coming in to his sophomore season with more bulk on his 6-foot-7 frame, Schofield would get into the mix on the O-line as the top backup for both the guard and tackle positions. It didn’t take long for him to get into the starting rotation as injuries would quickly claim starters Ryan Clady and Ty Sambrailo, forcing him into the trenches.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1711010-3-film-takeaways-broncos-... At right tackle, he presided over a debacle in a home loss to the Oakland Raiders where linebacker Khalil Mack would feast on Schofield, notching five sacks, four of which came at Schofield's expense. However, Schofield proved to be invaluable during Denver's Championship run, as well as being one of the mainstays on the retooled O-line this season.

The burden of every lineman is that no one remembers when you play well and you’re the first player people notice when you miss a block. Starting at left guard this year, with some spot duty at both left and right tackle, Schofield has been recognized more for all the right reasons and less for being a sieve.

Head coach Gary Kubiak pointed out as much after the win against Cincinnati on Sunday, where injuries to tackles Russell Okung and Donald Stephenson would force Schofield to play a couple different positions on the line.

“I want to mention Michael Schofield — I think he ended up at left tackle today for a while, if I’m not mistaken," Kubiak said. "He’s a guy that’s really helping us when stuff hits the fan, and we need to move guys around."

In his time with the media on Monday, Coach Kubiak reiterated how valuable Schofield has been to team so far.

“I don’t know if it’s something that Michael has done," Kubiak said. "It’s just that he just continues to become a better player. He’s playing against good players every week. You sit there and play tackle all year long for us last year and now you’re going inside, which is his more comfortable spot. Then, the last two weeks he’s been pushed back outside because of injury. I just think some guys stay the course in this league. There are a lot of guys that are good players and Michael is a good player. To become a great player, you have to just stay the course. I think that’s what Michael is doing right now.”

WATCH: Gary Kubiak's Week 3 Victory Speech

Schofield now joins a list of Broncos that includes Kayvon Webster and Cody Latimer — players who initially struggled to find playing time early on in their careers, but are finally seeing some success. Schofield has gone from being a liability on the offensive line to thriving at his more natural position at right guard, while still coming through when the Broncos are in a tight spot.

Showing a blue-collar work ethic and the right attitude in moving past his early troubles, Schofield has been an unsung hero among his fellow lineman and has helped the Denver Broncos move to a 3-0 start.

 

Adam Uribes is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @auribes37.

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