After a promising finish to the 2019 season, the Broncos had high expectations entering the 2020 season. Those expectations, however, have been greatly hindered by a rash of injuries that continues to grow. On Tuesday, a day after it was reported that defensive tackle Jurrell Casey could miss the rest of the season with a biceps tear, Broncos coach Vic Fangio announced that starting right tackle Elijah Wilkinson is going on injured reserve after sustaining a leg injury. Wilkinson is the fifth Broncos starter to go on injured reserve, and the 11th Broncos player to go on IR overall.
The Broncos, who are 0-3 entering Thursday night’s game against the also winless Jets, have already lost perennial Pro Bowl pass rusher Von Miller and 2019 Pro Bowl receiver Courtland Sutton for the season. Furthermore, cornerback A.J. Bouye, linebacker Mark Barron, defensive end Dre’Mont Jones and rookie linebacker Justin Strnad are all on injured reserve. Denver quarterback Drew Lock, who went 4-1 as a starter in 2019, will miss 2-4 more weeks after suffering an injury to his right shoulder in Denver’s Week 2 loss to Pittsburgh.
A former undrafted rookie, Wilkinson made the Broncos’ roster heading into the 2017 regular season. After playing in nine games that season, Wilkinson earned seven starts at right guard in 2018, helping running back Phillip Lindsay rush for over 1,000 yards as a rookie. He moved over to right tackle in 2019, where he helped Lock win four of his first five career starts.
With Wilkinson out, expect Demar Dotson to move into the starting lineup. Dotson, a 12-year veteran who made 106 starts during his 11 seasons with the Buccaneers, competed with Wilkinson to be the team’s starting right tackle during training camp.
The Broncos will look to get their first win of the season Thursday night at the Jets.