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Mason's Mailbag: Expect a major impact from Mike Munchak

Hey Mase, I'm not sure how many people realize what a good situation we are in by hiring Mike Munchak. Do you think our running game will improve once our offensive line gets coached up by him?

-- Russ Musick

The running game should improve, but I expect the more significant upgrade to come in pass protection. In Pittsburgh, the Steelers had the league's second-worst sack rate for 10 seasons prior to Munchak's 2014 arrival -- all of which were with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. With the same passer and Munchak coaching the Steelers' offensive line from 2014-18, the sack rate was the league's second-best, trailing only New Orleans in that span.

One person who understands this is ESPN's Chris Mortensen, who was on Orange and Blue 760 this week.

"The hiring of Mike Munchak was one of the biggest offseason acquisitions of this NFL period," Mortensen told Orange and Blue 760 later adding, "Go talk to the Steelers. They're still crying tears over that one."

One of the most economical and beneficial investments a team can make is in quality assistant coaches. If you get a good group of teachers like Munchak and others on the staff to work with players on a day-to-day basis, you have the best chance of maximizing the players' talents. Further, there is no salary cap on coaches, and the salary scale is far below what it is for top players. The hiring of Munchak is an investment in the entire offensive line, and it should pay immediate dividends.

If you could have any former Bronco, in his prime, for next year's team (other than John Elway or Peyton Manning) who would you choose? #AskMase

-- Jeff M. (TheRedOne80 via Twitter)

There are two names that pop to mind.

The first is Tom Nalen, the best center in team history. Then you'd be set at the other two interior spots, as you could move Connor McGovern to guard. The presence of Elijah Wilkinson, who started in the second half of the 2018 season, would ensure that you'd be covered with starting experience at both guard spots in case injuries strike Ron Leary again.

The other possibility would be Randy Gradishar, inside linebacker during the salad days of the "Orange Crush" -- and a player who belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While his tackling prowess is often the first item cited in making his Hall case, he was also one of the best linebackers of his era at dropping into coverage and making plays on the ball. At his peak, he intercepted at least three passes in four consecutive seasons (1975-78). Some were uber-athletic, including one toe-tap sideline grab of a Jim Zorn pass in Seattle in 1978.

If the Broncos' top prospects are gone at 10, and a team like the Raiders wants the pick, what compensation could be had? Could 10 and 41 net picks 24, 27 and 34? Would you take that deal if you were John Elway?

-- Chad Jacob

Realistically, I doubt the Raiders would want to make such a deal within the division with such high picks.

Further, the value of the picks on the draft-value chart has a 180-point discrepancy in favor of the Broncos. A trade involving the No. 10 overall pick (1300 points) from Denver and the 24th (740 points) and 34th (550 points) picks from Oakland would be more balanced -- resulting in a 10-point differential in favor of the Broncos. That difference is roughly the value of a pick in the early 200s.

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