Just one year removed from a Super Bowl title, the Denver Broncos missed the playoffs in 2016.
The Denver Broncos are one of the most intriguing teams to us. They’re a full calendar year removed from being crowned Super Bowl champs. The Broncos began last year’s free agency behind the 8-ball. First, the aging and washed up Peyton Manning called it quits. Secondly, they lost two of their defensive starters, LB Danny Trevathan and DL Malik Jackson in free agency. Lastly, Brock Osweiler, the only quarterback to have extensive game experience, headed southwest to Houston.
Siemian returns, along with second-year man Paxton Lynch to compete for the staring gig in 2017. There have been rumors swirling of the Broncos bringing in Tony Romo if Dallas cuts him lose. Time will tell.
Denver entered the 2016 season with second-year quarterback Trevor Siemian at the helm. Siemian passed for over 3,400 yards compiling 18 tds with 10 interceptions. The offense was respectable under his guidance. Wideouts Demaryius Thomas, and Emmanuel Sanders each posted a 1,000 yard receiving season. Running back C.J. Anderson rushed for 437 yards totaling 4 tds before being lost halfway through the season to a torn meniscus. His injury gave way for rookie running back Devontae Booker to rush for 612 yards with 4 touchdowns. Booker was benched later in the season after several fumble issues. Veteran Justin Forsett was brought in later in the year in an attempt to stabilize the position. Forsett is now a free agent, so Kapri Bibbs, Juwan Thompson and Bernard Pierce will vie for the final spot after Anderson and Booker. Once promising tight end Virgil Green, has never quite lived up to expectations. Second-year tight end Jeff Heuerman is a solid number 2 guy.
The Broncos biggest issues as a team were along the offensive line. Left tackles Russell Okung and Ty Sambrailo struggled with injuries and inconsistencies, as did Donald Stephenson on the right side. Look for high-end draft picks to help complete an overhaul at offensive tackle.
Defensively, the Broncos ranked 4th in total yards in the NFL. They proudly exhibited the number 1 pass defense; displaying the league’s premiere No Fly Zone!!! Being equipped with three pro bowlers in their secondary. Aqib Talib and Chris Harris are two lockdown corners, while Bradley Roby is among the leagues better nickel backs. Teaming them up with head-hunting safeties T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart is a lethal combination. They may bolster the best pass rush in the business. Superstar edge rusher Von Miller totaled 13.5 sacks, and Shane Ray added 8 more. Oh, did I mention aging but the electric Demarcus Ware? He is a free agent, who would like to return.
The defensive line, consisting of Derek Wolfe, Sylvester Williams and Jared Crick is solid, but depth could be used. Brandon Marshall is set at linebacker. However, Todd Davis could be upgraded this offseason.
KEY FREE AGENTS
Russell Okung, OT
DeMarcus Ware, DE
Sylvester Williams, DT
Vance Walker, DT
Justin Forsett, RB
Jordan Norwood, WR
Billy Winn, DE
Dekota Watson, LB
POSSIBLE FIRST ROUND DRAFT TARGETS (20th PICK)
Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
O.J. Howaard, TE, Alabama
David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL)
Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Garret Bolles, OT, Utah
We really can’t pinpoint many legitimate holes in the Broncos’ structure. Of course they need more consistent quarterback play. However, he’s Siemian and Lynch are young and need more game experience. The defense could target a run stuffing defensive tackle to stifle the ground game. They could also make playmaking tight end as an era of emphasis.