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Dalton Risner ready to return to football, 'have a heck of a year'

DENVER — Guard Dalton Risner started all 16 regular-season games and played 96 percent of the team's snaps as a rookie last season.

As the scheduled open of Broncos training camp approaches, he's eager to take a few more.

"With everything going on in this world, we're expected to go back July 28 and play some football," Risner said Thursday, "and that's what we're hoping we're able to do. We didn't get to do OTAs, haven't been able to meet a lot of the new additions to the team, haven't been able to be around our coaches and our teammates. Of course, we want that. Of course, the world needs to be safe before we can do that.

"But man, we just want to play some football so bad. I'm ready to get back out there and have a heck of a year."

For the Kansas State product who is expected to again start at left guard, a "heck of a year" entails more than personal accomplishments. He identified a Pro Bowl selection and All-Pro nod as two of his "huge goals," but he maintained that the individual success paled in comparison to his hopes for the team.

"My goal above everything else is a Super Bowl," Risner said. "Team goals are much more important than individual goals. We don't have a team full of guys that are trying to accomplish individual goals. We have a team full of guys that want to win a Super Bowl. That is above and beyond everything else. But if we can get to the Super Bowl, win the Super Bowl, [then] Pro Bowl and All-Pro are definitely huge goals of mine. I'm done with that All-Rookie stuff. I didn't even like that. We've got bigger things to do this year."

The Broncos added to their receiving corps with their first two picks of the 2020 NFL Draft, and John Elway made a splash when he signed running back Melvin Gordon III to a two-year deal. Additions to the interior offensive line, though, may prove just as meaningful.

Elway and Co. inked guard Graham Glasgow to a four-year deal in free agency, and Risner said he's excited to learn alongside the fifth-year veteran.

"Graham's a heck of a guy," Risner said. "That's a guy that just signed his second contract. He's been in the NFL for a while. I think he can bring a lot of leadership to the Broncos' offensive line this year. I want to lead right there along with him. I'm going to learn a lot from him, and I hope Graham can learn a lot from me. I hope that we can go to practice and we can show each other what we both do. I can watch film on him, he can watch film on me. He's a really good guy. He's a guy that we want in the room. He's going to bring a lot of athletic ability to the team, he's a consistent guy. You know he's going to get gritty, he's going to be good for us."

The Broncos also added to the center position, as they selected LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry III with the 83rd-overall pick.

"Lloyd's a really bright kid," Risner said. "I got to do OTA meetings with him. I got to see what he's all about. He's someone that cares, he's got passion for the game. He's intelligent. You can tell he's a mastermind of the game of football, and he's going to put in a lot of hard work. I can tell that. No matter who's on each side of me, it doesn't matter. We're going to be well off this year with the Denver Broncos. And I think the coaches, Mr. Elway, they did a phenomenal job of getting the right people around us for us to be successful."

The spot on the other side of Risner, though, will perhaps draw more attention than any during training camp. Three-year starter Garett Bolles and Elijah Wilkinson will battle for the starting left tackle job, and Risner expects a "great competition."

"Both of those guys are my brothers," Risner said. "Garett is the first guy that ever talked to me from the Denver Broncos. He was at my draft party. He's treated me like a little brother. I love playing next to that guy. When I heard there was a competition, I definitely knew that Garett and Elijah are going to duke it out together. The best guy will be out there playing and whoever doesn't get that spot is definitely still going to get playing time next year.

"… I think they're going to work out, do a heck of a job and we'll see who wins."

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