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20 days, 20 Broncos camp questions -- 15. Is Matt Paradis ready to step forward as leader?

Posted Jul 22, 2016

In his second season as starter, the young center has more starts as a Bronco than anyone else on the reshuffled offensive line.

Definitely.

Even before offseason work began in April, Head Coach Gary Kubiak identified Paradis as one of the players who could step forward to fill the leadership void left by Peyton Manning's retirement, along with others like Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and C.J. Anderson.

Part of that is because of Paradis' experience in the offense; after playing every snap last season, he has more repetitions in the Broncos' offense than the rest of the projected starters combined.

Matt Paradis

But Paradis handled his job so well last year that a leadership role comes naturally. With injuries taking their toll on the line, Paradis became the constant presence, and ensured that the injury-spurred transition from Peyton Manning to Brock Osweiler in November was a smooth one. When Manning re-entered the lineup in Week 17, Paradis did't miss a beat.

Paradis will lead up front, but with veterans Russell Okung and Donald Stephenson settling in at the tackle spots, he knows he won't have to do it alone.

“I think there are a couple of us that shoulder that [leadership role]," Paradis said during offseason workouts. Trying to get the O-Line together and do some stuff as a unit and build that cohesion because we’ve got a lot of new guys."

And it's a group Paradis believes will be better.

"I’m very excited about this group we’ve got," Paradis said. "We’ve got a lot of smart guys, athletic guys and guys that are going to work hard. It’s hard to give you an exact [example] of how better we’re going to be, but I think we will be better."

MORE 20 QUESTIONS:

1. How will they replace Malik Jackson?
2. What will Roby provide in his third year?
3. What's next at long snapper?
4. Will DT have a bounce-back season?
5. What must Heuerman show this summer?
6. Will Green show he can be the No. 1 option at TE?
7. Who could start a new undrafted streak?
8. How long will it take the new OTs to get up to speed?
9. Who could emerge to handle kickoff and punt returns?
10. Who will be the No. 3 safety?
11. Are Barrett and Ray ready for bigger roles?
12. Who emerges as the No. 3 WR behind Thomas and Sanders?
13. Who steps up at ILB alongside Marshall?
14. What must Sanchez show to be the starter?