Bronco Beat

Bears assistant: Former Bronco Leno ‘probably the most underrated offensive lineman’

Chicago Bears offensive tackle Charles Leno, a former Boise State Bronco, walks off the field following a game last season.
Chicago Bears offensive tackle Charles Leno, a former Boise State Bronco, walks off the field following a game last season.

Former Boise State offensive tackle Charles Leno has been a fairly unheralded NFL talent, but that is starting to change.

Leno, in his third season with the Chicago Bears after being taken in the seventh round in 2014, moved into the starting role at left tackle early last season, never relinquishing it. He started the last 13 games after veteran Jermon Bushrod was hurt, even holding onto the spot when Bushrod returned. The Bears released Bushrod, now with the Dolphins, in February.

The praise has been consistent early in Bears camp, with quarterback Jay Cutler telling ChicagoBears.com “I think everyone’s starting to take notice of what kind of player he is.”

“Charles Leno is probably the most underrated offensive lineman in football,” offensive line coach Dave Magazu said. “He comes out every day, works his tail off and he’s a student of the game.”

First preseason game: vs. Denver, 6 p.m. Thursday

Blake Renaud, FB, Minnesota

A linebacker at Boise State, Renaud joined the Vikings as an undrafted free agent last year. He was on Minnesota's practice squad the first three weeks of the season, was released, then resigned for the final 10. He was signed to a reserve/future contract in January. Renaud has seen some work with the first-team offense. Popular blog Vikings Corner said “Renaud has shown some potential in limited action and might be a player to keep a close eye on in the preseason.”

First preseason game: at Cincinnati, 5:30 p.m. Friday

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Over the next few days we’ll check in with former Boise State players in NFL camps, by division. Today, the NFC North. Tomorrow, the NFC West. Here’s the current list of former Broncos on rosters, as of today:

Kamalei Correa, LB, Baltimore

Charles Leno, OL, Chicago

George Iloka, S, Cincinnati

Jamar Taylor, CB, Cleveland

Tyrone Crawford, DL, Dallas

DeMarcus Lawrence, DL, Dallas

Kellen Moore, QB, Dallas

Orlando Scandrick, CB, Dallas

Matt Paradis, C, Denver

Billy Winn, DL, Denver

Jeron Johnson, S, Kansas City

Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami

Tyler Gray, LB, Miami

Blake Renaud, FB, Minnesota

Shea McClellin, LB, New England

Marcus Henry, C, New Orleans

Kyle Wilson, CB, New Orleans

Ryan Clady, OT, New York Jets

Donte Deayon, CB, New York Giants

Darian Thompson, S, New York Giants

Rees Odhiambo, OL, Seattle

Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay

Kelsey Young, RB, Washington

Note: Lee Hightower, who played at Boise State in 2011 and 2012 before transferring to Houston for his final three seasons, is on the Indianapolis Colts’ roster.

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