Team needs: Denver Broncos

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When you have a future Hall of Fame quarterback still playing at a high level, your flaws all look like blemishes easily covered. So yes, the Denver Broncos have some roster spots to bolster — but they also have Peyton Manning. Here’s our take on the biggest needs for Manning and Co. entering the draft:

Defensive end: The departure of Elvis Dumervil leaves the Broncos short a pass rusher. Short-term veteran options Dwight Freeney and John Abraham remain free agents, but even if Denver signs an experienced Dumervil replacement, bringing in a young, cost-effective pass rusher would also be sensible.  In recent years, the Broncos have done well adding starter-caliber ends beyond Round One, drafting Derek Wolfe in Round Two in 2012 and Dumervil in Round Four in 2006.

Defensive tackle: The Broncos have Terrance Knighton and Kevin Vickerson under contract until 2014, but Vickerson turned 30 in January, and Knighton, while talented, has not been consistent. Another defensive tackle capable of pushing the pocket would be a nice fit.

Running back: Willis McGahee will be 32 in October, and Knowshon Moreno comes off knee surgery. In short, a younger back with limited wear-and-tear would be a solid depth-chart addition. That said, the Broncos can probably craft a workable solution at this position without drafting a back in Round One. Multiple veteran starters remain unsigned in free agency, and the Broncos have several viable starting tailbacks already on the roster if McGahee and Moreno hold up physically. Also, second-year back Ronnie Hillman carried 311 times in his final season at San Diego State.

Cornerback: In the short term, the Broncos are set here with Champ Bailey, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Chris Harris, Tony Carter and Omar Bolden. However, Bailey will be 35 in June. Also, Rodgers-Cromartie is on just a one-year deal — and he’s now with his third NFL team since entering the league in 2008. Some might say safety rates as a bigger need than cornerback for Denver, but Broncos starting safeties Mike Adams and Rahim Moore both got positive regular-season grades from Pro Football Focus in 2012. Overall, there is no shortage of data suggesting cornerback is simply a more highly valued position than safety among NFL teams.

Wide receiver: Yes, the position isn’t a need in 2013. But consider this: Eric Decker can test free agency after the season. Wes Welker is 32 in May. Also, Demaryius Thomas — signed through 2014 — seems likely to earn a big second contact. Any receiver the Broncos add in this draft is no better than the fourth option entering the campaign — and he can learn from an outstanding group of experienced players ahead of him. What’s not to like?

The Broncos have six draft picks, with one selection every round but the sixth. The defensive line appears the biggest need, but Denver has time and multiple channels to address it. And did we mention Peyton Manning?

32 responses to “Team needs: Denver Broncos

  1. If you get the motivated Knighton, you’ll be alright. He can flat out dominate at times. Unfortunately it happened inconsistently here in Jax. Best of luck to him. Thanks for taking Manning away!

  2. You only live once and Peyton is a special player, I would rather see Denver load up with more weapons and OL to support Peyton for his remaining time (to also further justify the giant money they invested there that needs some protection and amplification), and then that will complete the offensive set for the next guy that takes over.

    If you really want to improve the Defense and spend money on it, then don’t do it with draft picks this year, do that in FA and keep guys like Dumervil and save those picks for the Offense. Oh wait, we seem to have created a conundrum for the team. Well I’m bowing out now as I have no idea what Elway is thinking about or planning to do. I’m off the page and out of the Elway Handbook for NFL Dominance.

  3. Denver’s greatest defensive liability last year was defending the middle of the field against tight ends and running backs. Kieth Brooking was their MLB, he’s 36 and not on the roster. Their number one need is a MLB who can cover tight ends. All that other stuff is pretty far down the list. Arthur Brown in the first?

  4. If the Packers need a qb if Rodgers gets hurt, why don’t you have qb as a need for the Broncos? After all, if either one goes down, their team is toast. m

  5. Manning didn’t look so hot in that last game.
    How long does he have left. Get it soon or forget it

  6. Whatever happens, just make sure to give Manning a minute and 2 timeouts so we can watch him take a knee and pass the blame to another teammate!

  7. Denver will be Super Bowl Champions this upcoming season! Enjoy haters!!

    Denver’s not even sniffing a playoff win this year. They’re a mentally soft team with soft, inadequate players. And it all starts with their donkey-faced fair-weather QB.

    You could give Peyton the greatest receiving corps in NFL history and he’d still choke in the playoffs, look at his 2004 season. Just pathetic.

    Denver has no hope whatsoever unless their defense is dominant, but under that stooge John Fox they won’t even be good enough to slow down a weaponless Joe Flacco, much less a truly great QB like Tom Brady.

  8. Robert Ayers may be the answer at DE. He has shown flashes of dominance in the past and has really flourished with the new staff. Also, he’s well respected in the locker room as a good player and leader.

    Don’t rule him out.

  9. @myshkingfh

    The front office declared the MLB next year will be Nate Irving or Steven Johnson. Both are young, very promising backers with a lot of heart. They’ll be fine.

  10. randallflagg52 | Apr 20, 2013, 4:22 PM EDT
    You forgot to mention extra medical staff to preform the heimlich maneuver when the Manning/Fox combo chokes away yet another playoff berth.

    Bet they learn that from studying raven tapes for four out the last five years. Remember the rat turds came thru just once there big boy.

  11. What the Donkeys really need is a good old-fashioned butt whooping to get them off their high horseface.

  12. I think Denver is favorite in trip to SB, but if you think you guys can beat SF or Seattle or Atlanta GOOD LUCK. One of those teams will be the superbowl champ, but no question Denver is probably going to be the unlucky team to play them.

  13. Take this for what you will: Peyton Manning’s teams are 1-4 in the divisional round when receiving a playoff bye (i.e. home game).

    Isn’t this a tad bit alarming? He’s faced supposedly inferior teams with homefield and has been a one-and-done 4 times in these situations. I’d proceed with caution on the Broncos.

  14. Team needs: John Elway, Terrell Davis, Steve Atwater, Dennis Smith and Karl Meklenburg.

  15. In Denver we’ve heard the QB choke line enough times already. Everyone said the same back in the 80’s and 90’s when Elway was the man. Haters hold your tongue…it shall be done.

  16. Yeah, it’s the same old tired sound bites repeated time after time. The Broncos have no real weaknesses so you have to keep repeating over and over the lame points. One post was from a Raiders fan dissing our QB…..Really dude???
    The fact is every team in the NFL is scared of playing this team. Just how do you cover Thomas, Decker and Welker when you have Peyton By God Manning throwing it to them? Ravens? They lost 2/3 of the starting secondary and replaced with scrubs. Patriots? Again weak secondary and they’ve lost the ability to trade TD’s without Welker, who by the way is in Denver. Texans have a good D, but Schaub vs Manning is no contest.
    Flacco just had an incredible lucky streak and is not elite. Brady chocked. Kaepernick, Wilson, Rodgers and Brees=Choke,choke,choke and choke.
    So come on haters, please put some effort into some new material.

  17. How about a Super Bowl win where they aren’t fined a million dollars and a third round pick for cheating the salary cap? Two for two so far.

  18. Please shore up the Defense.. Peyton needs help on that side of the ball. Do not put it all on him have to get the ball back and NOT give up long passes at the end of the game. Its been proven weak defense and you are limited to how far you can go in the playoffs must win games against contenders in order to get to super bowl with a great offense and a STOUT defense. Lots of blame to go around for the loss to Ravens lots.. so leave Peyton alone jealous haters. He is a Hall of Fame QB the best the Broncos have had since Elway wake up.

  19. To all the Manning haters… you are right about one thing… he cannot play defense.

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