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Broncos send starting offensive lineman to IR, sign former second-round pick

Henry Chisholm Avatar
November 8, 2017

A third Bronco is heading to the injured reserve list this week, following in the footsteps of Jake Butt and Chad Kelly.

Right tackle Menelik Watson will spend the remainder of 2017 on injured reserve after suffering a season-ending foot injury in Philadelphia this weekend. The 29-year-old signed a three-year contract worth over $18 million in March, despite struggling with injuries throughout his career.

The Broncos signed another tackle, 24-year-old Cyrus Kouandjio, to fill Watson’s spot on the active roster. In high school, Kouandjio was a five-star recruit and the consensus number one overall lineman in his class. Three years ago, Kouandjio was a second-round draft pick out of Alabama, where he was a consensus All-American.

Kouandjio started seven games during his three seasons with the Bills, including five during his age-23, 2016 season. Buffalo released the 6-foot-7, 322-pound lineman in May and he later signed with the Lions, but was cut at the conclusion of training camp.

Watson, who grew up in Manchester, England, was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Raiders. During his three years in Oakland, Watson only started 17 games due to frequent lower-body injuries. He missed the entire 2015 season due to a torn Achilles.

Watson struggled in pass protection this season. His nine sacks allowed are three more than any other lineman in the league. Watson’s pass blocking efficiency, a stat measured by Pro Football Focus, is the fourth-lowest of any offensive lineman this season. Denver’s offensive line as a whole has allowed the third-most sacks per game.

The seven games he started this season are the second-most in his career.

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