Draft needs: Denver Broncos

AP

As to be expected from a defending conference champion, the Broncos have a strong roster and a lack of starting spots available. Nevertheless, the Broncos aren’t without some positions in need of improvement entering the 2014 NFL Draft.

In the long term, this Denver draft class could have its greatest impact down the road, when the Broncos could be a much different-looking team. With 38-year-old quarterback Peyton Manning still playing masterfully and a depth chart loaded with veteran talent, the Broncos are among the foremost Super Bowl XLIX contenders. Nevertheless, there’s room for a young difference-maker to contribute for the Broncos right from the start. In fact, some young energy could fuel Denver as it tries to gather the momentum to make another Super Bowl run.

Here is a look at the Broncos’ draft needs:

Linebacker: Middle and strong-side linebacker are positions that could be bolstered, with middle linebacker a bigger priority. The depth in the middle took a hit when Wesley Woodyard departed in free agency, and a rookie could come in and compete to start right off the bat at that spot. At the very least, a swift rookie like Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier could compete for playing time on passing downs. A young strong-side linebacker with some pass rush ability would also be a nice addition to the depth chart behind star Von Miller, who suffered an ACL tear last season.

Cornerback: The Broncos are stronger at this position than numerous other clubs, especially after signing Aqib Talib to a six-year deal. However, the Broncos’ other starting cornerback, Chris Harris, suffered an ACL tear in January. It would not be unreasonable for Denver to draft a cornerback to compete with second-year pro Kayvon Webster and fourth-year pro Tony Carter. Also, Talib has missed at least three games in each of the last four seasons.

Offensive tackle / offensive guard: Giving Manning the clean pocket he needs means offensive line improvement must always be on Denver’s mind. With three-year starting right tackle Orlando Franklin potentially moving to left guard to replace the departed Zane Beadles, and with left tackle Ryan Clady coming off a Lisfranc injury, the tackle position might need a little more depth. On the other hand, were Franklin were to stay at right tackle, guard could become a position of need.

Wide receiver / tight end: The Broncos are set at both positions for 2014, with top-line starters at both positions. However, wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker are in the final year of their contracts, as is tight end Julius Thomas. Demaryius Thomas looks likely to garner a monster second contract, with Julius Thomas also on his way to a big raise after making the Pro Bowl in 2013. The Broncos should consider adding at least one young pass catcher in the draft as insurance.

Defensive end: The Broncos already have solid defensive end depth, but bringing in one more pass rusher capable of picking up some reps behind DeMarcus Ware, Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson would be sensible.

38 responses to “Draft needs: Denver Broncos

  1. The raiders will win the vince bombardi trophy yet again. That’s about 30 years in a row.

  2. All heckling aside, you do need to think about QB. Your QB is nearly 40 and one meaty forearm to the neck from being out of the game. (Although I will give you props if, upon that happening, Elway ziplines down to the field WWE style while his entrance music blares.)

  3. You forgot RB… they could use a 3rd, 4th rounder on the position.. they only lost Knowshon.

    Ball will well, but they need another 1b to their 1a

  4. You should add Quanterus Smith to that list of DEs, and then remove it as an area of concern. He was on IR last year but was able to play a bit of preseason first. Last year, as a rookie, he was projected as a possible starter if healthy. Also, backup QB isn’t a worry (as posters are always likely to suggest) with Dysert and Osweiler there.
    Needs are LB and CB, you’re right. Top priority wants, improved competition and depth at O-line, RB, WR, and TE.

  5. Broncos record vs. Seattle in games that matter: 0-1. Good luck with that salary cap thing the next few years.

  6. This list of needs is pretty good. I don’t think they need a Sam linebacker because Miller starts, of course, but Nate Irving behind him is pretty good.

    I think Denver is very hopeful that Qunaterus Smith will be a good edge rusher as he recovers from a knee injury without which he may have been a fringe #1 pick.

    To commenters saying QB, Denver dropped a second round pick on Brock Osweiller a couple of years ago, and there’s no reason to think any less of him today than when he was drafted. They may look to add a #3 guy late in the draft to replace Zac Dysert, who reportedly hasn’t impressed in practice.

    RB is also probably not a big need because CJ Anderson is highly regarded behind Ball and then there’s Ronnie Hillman who has impressed no one, but I’m not sure they’ve given up on quite yet.

  7. Also, Denver is in pretty good shape with the salary cap. They have been writing contracts that generally pay all the money up front so that if they want, the team can get out of the contract relatively quickly without cap implications. Their cap now is about as bad as its going to be.

  8. 43 – 8. G.O.A.T. my arse. Broncos need a qb who stops with the personal awards and stats, and concentrates on winning the big one for his team to enjoy.

  9. With the market for RBs so low, I am surprised they didn’t try to keep Moreno. He ran hard and looked great at times. Ball should do well but if he goes down then Hillman is not going to give you the same production…but the draft is probably where they’ll add another RB. Otherwise, Michael Bush is still out there.

  10. Moreno just isn’t very good is the problem. He spent a lot of time running against 6 man boxes. Just not much to pay for.

  11. Experts have already shown how Denver is in a good cap situation for now and the future. But lets talk about Seattle’s cap future. Signing Kam contract last year, Thomas top paid safety contract this year. You’re about to make Sherman the richest corner on the market and lets not forget your QB is going to be due for a contract as well. Seattle already is tight on cap space.

  12. I see more Seattle fans chatting in Denver articles than any other fan. Makes me wonder if they need to constantly talk trash on a team that’s improving because they are scared or they just need to run their mouths as much as possible because their team finally became relevant since their existence in 1976.

  13. I’ll laugh at those clown Seahawk fans when Little, Sherman, and Wilson take up a third of their cap… Hopefully coordinators will realize that running the ball is how to neutralize their defense.

  14. Brock Osweiler is their QB in training. He was a second round pick and is being groomed for the job. Drafting another would be foolish. Elway loves the kid.

    I’d like to see Jared Abrederris (spelling may be off) go to Denver. As a WI native, I’ve gotten to watch him over the years. He’s impressive with terrible QBs. Denver or Philly would be good landing spots for him.

  15. The Donkees need to draft a QB! Peyton Manning failed miserably in the SB and the SB hangover will be in Denver. Being 38-39 years old increases the likelyhood for him to get injured.

  16. Keep yappin, Seahawk fans. Do you really think you’ll be at the top forever? I guarantee as soon as you start losing again, and you will “THE 12” wont be anywhere around. They’ll slip right back into football obscurity where they belong. SF, Pittsburgh and Denver all have way more claim to the 12th man then does the band-wagoners that just came around after 40 years.

  17. I love the football “fans” saying Denver needs a QB. We drafted one in the 7th round last year (Zac Dysert) and one in the 2nd round the year before (Brock Osweiller).

    Learn something about the team and their needs before you try and go all Mel Kiper on us fellas.

  18. Last SB loser to win the following year was the ’72 Dolphins. Numbers don’t lie.

  19. This year Denver will go through the downward spiral that comes after losing miserably in the SB. First,there will be some key injuries then there will be lockerroom issues with the coaches playcalling followed up by some key injuries. NFL coaches adapt to other coaching styles and players evolve and phase out. Nothing new! Actually what makes the NFL unique!!!!

  20. Don’t forget RB depth as well. CJ Anderson & Rn Hillman just aren’t going to cut it.

    Isaiah Crowell, Charles Simms, or Marion Grice would be great late round additions.

  21. Oh! If the Broncos draft Shazier (if he comes to them), I hope it’s with the goal of switching him to the middle- because a first round pick for a back-up would be super sad.

  22. The Denver Broncos have to play the entire NFC West this year. It won’t matter what positions they draft at if those players aren’t the type that can weather the storm of a heavy weight fight.

  23. Watched on NFL network and browns moving up for manziel made this pick a second thought. Oh well, two years from now the manziel vs teebow celebrity boxing match will be fun to watch

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