The free-agency period has been good one way or another for every NFL team. Hence, it’s time to take a look at the positives in our newest series for End Zone Score. Which newcomer to the club was the franchise’s best offseason move and why? We got things started with the 2016 last-place teams in the eight divisions. You can get caught up on the entire series by clicking right here. Now we are onto the clubs that finished third. And that means the Denver Broncos are in the spotlight.

G Ronald Leary

It is not difficult to figure out what derailed the Denver Broncos’ chances of repeating as Super Bowl champions in 2016. And guess what? It wasn’t the play of quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch. In fact, in terms of production, this duo was more statistically effective than Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler the previous season.

Simply put, the Broncos could not run the football consistently and they could not stop the opposition from doing the same. It made for a lot of offensive shortcomings. Only five teams in the league gained fewer yards on the ground. The combination of injuries to C.J. Anderson and a number of new faces on the offensive line were some of the factors. Conversely, Denver defenders were simply not as stout against the run. It was evident that the team missed defensive tackle Malik Jackson and inside linebacker Danny Trevathan, both who left in free agency. And outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, now retired, was shelved for six games.

When running back DeMarco Murray was leading the NFL in rushing in 2014, he had quite the offensive line in front of him with the Dallas Cowboys. That’s still the case these days, but back then it was Ronald Leary who was the starting left guard. But he played in only four games in 2015 and the door was opened for La’El Collins to take over. Leary wound up making 12 starts this past regular season and one more in the playoffs when Collins went down. And keep in mind that it was rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott who won the league’s rushing title.

All told, the former undrafted free agent is an excellent addition to a Denver Broncos’ offensive front that still needs a little more help. And an improved ground attack will help this offense immeasurably.

Russell S. Baxter is the NFL lead columnist for and the founder of Follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.

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