Broncos' 2022 Preview: Offense | A Unit that Will Carry the Water – Sports Illustrated

The Denver Broncos were the talk of the NFL this offseason after trading for quarterback Russell Wilson. That move made Denver instant Super Bowl contenders on the heels of six consecutive seasons of missing the playoffs. 
That tends to happen when a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback comes to town. The roster around Wilson is replete with talented skill players and an offensive line that will likely give him the best protection of his career. This Broncos offense will be one of the most exciting to watch in the entire NFL.
The Broncos' only impediment to the playoffs is the toughness of the AFC West — the stiffest division in the NFL. Each team has a quarterback capable of winning the division title. 
With new Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett also arriving, the energy has returned to Dove Valley and so has the promise of an innovative offense. What do fans have to look forward to offensively under the Hackett/Wilson ticket? 
Here is our preview of each offensive unit.
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Success this season rests on the shoulders of Wilson. He is an elite-level quarterback, a proven winner, and all signs point to him being up to the task of returning the Broncos to their winning ways. 
Wilson has the arm talent to make any throw and his athleticism adds a wrinkle that will be difficult for defenses to stop. He may very well get some MVP consideration if Hackett’s offense is as advertised since it will be tailored to the QB's strengths for the first time in his career.
The backup position belongs to Josh Johnson and he is capable if called upon. He was hand-picked for the role and it's highly unlikely that'll change between now and the season-opener. With Wilson’s durability, Johnson will likely be holding a clipboard all season.
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The running backs are going to be a strength of the team. Moving to a wide-zone blocking scheme and putting emphasis on the run will pay dividends for the running backs. This position has both solid starters and good depth.
The fan-favorite is Javonte Williams and projects as the starter after splitting carries with Melvin Gordon last season. William's never-quit attitude combined with great balance made him a weekly candidate for NFL Network's 'Angry Run Award' nearly every week. 
The only question surrounding Williams season is this: will he be able to fit well into the wide-zone scheme? If he proves that his vision and decisiveness are up to the task, he will have a huge season.
Backing him up is Gordon. Gordon tested the free-agent waters, but found his way back to the Broncos this offseason. He's a touchdown machine, but his fumbles at inopportune times have fans giving the thumbs down. Fumbles aside, he is a good running back that will be a very good complement to Williams.
Mike Boone missed much of last season with an injury, but he has an intriguing skill set. If he can stay healthy, he could have a solid role as a change-of-pace back and as a target out of the backfield.
Finally, bring on the fullbacks! This offense calls for a fullback and the Broncos have one in Andrew Beck, though Eric Tomlinson purportedly could factor in there. Hopefully, Beck's lead-blocking skills can be as useful as his ability to catch passes out of the backfield.
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Not Making the Cut
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The Broncos have a stable of talented pass-catchers that have been mired in mediocre quarterback play. Wilson is going to help this unit tremendously and the only problem will be spreading the ball around. 
Another season removed from an ACL injury, Courtland Sutton is poised to show why people thought he was going to be an All-Pro after the 2019 campaign.
Jerry Jeudy has tremendous potential but was misused often by the previous coaching regime. He stands to have the largest improvement of all the receivers with a new offense and new quarterback. 
Tim Patrick is severely underrated even though he is sure-handed and makes play after play while KJ Hamler, if fully healed, will be the Broncos' deep threat with a quarterback who can hit him in stride. With the talent of the top-four receivers, the Broncos may carry only five on the roster. 
That doesn’t bode well for the rest of the group. Fifth-round rookie Montrell Washington has the inside track on the return duties and could land that final roster spot.
The tight ends are a capable group, but there are questions now that Noah Fant has been moved in the Wilson trade. Albert Okwuegbunam is athletic with top-end speed and could be a factor in the passing game. Third-round rookie Greg Dulcich is fun and he could be a surprise contributor in both the passing game and running game.
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Not Making the Cut
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The offensive line is undergoing changes in philosophy, moving to a wide-zone scheme this season. This change can affect the incumbents on the starting line either negatively or positively. 
Dalton Risner had his best season in a zone scheme, but Lloyd Cushenberry III may be a better fit in a power scheme. This makes it a bit difficult to predict just how the offensive line will shape up on opening day and just how well it will adapt to the new scheme. 
Garett Bolles is the left tackle and that is very unlikely to change. Risner has been the topic of discussion, sometimes in trade scenarios, but considering the system that the Broncos will run in 2022, he is likely going to be a high performer for the team.
Cushenberry is the incumbent starter at center but may get pushed out of that spot by Graham Glasgow. The right tackle spot is the position with the most uncertainty. Billy Turner is the leading candidate for that job.
The Broncos have a good depth situation along the line with Calvin Anderson’s and Quinn Meinerz's versatility. Denver also drafted center Luke Wattenberg and he could factor in as depth early on.
Starters
Backups
Not Making the Cut
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The Broncos will go as far as Wilson will take them even with the uncertainty of Hackett having no previous head-coaching experience. The offense should be fun regardless and Broncos fans will be champing at the bit to get the season started. 
It will be a dogfight for the AFC West title, but the Broncos’ offensive wherewithal will have them up to the challenge.
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Thomas Hall is an analyst at Mile High Huddle covering the Denver Broncos, NFL and NFL Draft. Thomas’ works have been featured on CBSSports.com, 247Sports.com and BleacherReport.com. 

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Christopher Jones
Christopher Jones
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