When inevitable injuries and unspecified team rules violations strike ...
Which player can the Broncos least afford to lose?
Survey says ...
Charles Leno, Jr.
Tough question. I think Joe Southwick is a close second in this category, but Mr. Southwick will not be effective without a healthy offensive line. Left tackle Charles Leno is the most important, protecting the "blindside". He literally has Joe's back. While there is substantial depth along the line, left tackle is the one position I wouldn't want to have any questions at. I imagine the Boise State offense will show a fair amount of no-huddle throughout the year and inexperience on the line could derail that plan. There's also the point of protecting the quarterback and Leno is unquestionably the best option on the Boise State roster for doing that.
Jamarcus Lenowick (you never said I couldn't create a super player)
This combination of Jay Ajayi, Demarcus Lawrence, Charles Leno Jr., and Joe Southwick is the one player we can not afford to lose.
Okay. Totes serious now? The Broncos can not afford to lose Jay Ajayi. In my opinion, the future first-rounder will be the only relief Southwick gets when things aren't going his way. Although there is depth and talent at the position, Ajayi is really the only proven back in the bunch. When the going gets tough, and Burksewijn (see how I did that again?) keeps dropping balls, Ajayi may be the only thing that keeps this engine running.
Jeremy Ioane and here's why.
Ioane is one of our best players and also one without a real proven backup behind him. He's a game-changer (Michigan State), and a game finisher (BYU and UW). He's also enforcer, face-painter and a walking Pert Plus commercial. I feel like Ioane is right on the cusp of being the player that we'd all hoped he'd turn out to be (if he's not already there), I'd hate to see him sit now that he's caught some momentum-although I'm sure there are plenty of running backs and wideouts who'd love for him to be on the sidelines.
Side note: I'd love for Ioane's signature "hand of Saruman" black face paint to catch on amongst the fans. OBNUG: where grassroots movements happen.
Although Boise State has good wide receiver depth, Miller seems like the most consistent target when a first down is needed or in red zone situations. He's like the second coming of Austin Pettis. If something were to happen to him, the Broncos would adjust but he's like a warm, cozy security blanket that Southwick can wrap himself in and I want Joe to stay nice and warm this season.
I believe the correct answer is Joe Southwick since we've all seen what Grant Hedrick does (throws interceptions) in anything resembling game situations.
However, I'm not going with Southwick. I'm going with Bryan Douglas. His existence is the sole reason why people don't sweat when they talk about the cornerback position at Boise State. Assuming he's healthy - a big "if" considering his knee contains pre-owned parts - the secondary is okay. If he's lost for any stretch of time, things look thinner than an Ally McBeal look-a-like contest. (Ally McBeal is super skinny for those of you who did not grow up in the 1990s. Ack, I am so old.)
Help make this roundtable even rounder by providing your answer in the comments.