We’re all getting excited about the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft. In order to gain an idea of what our team needs, let’s take a big picture look at what our roster looks like currently.
For review, if you want the details on our defensive personnel, here are the links for my positional break-down of our offensive players:
Let’s cover some bases first: this is just my opinion. Feel free to share your differences in the comment section. That being said, no one really knows how our guys are going to look come training camp, let alone pre-season, let alone week 1. We’re just playing arm-chair GM here and this is just what I think of the state of things as such.
We’re looking very big picture, so there is plenty of room for interpretation. The big thing here is what areas do I think the Broncos could bolster or improve in the draft? Where are the glaring needs, if any, in our roster?
Red = Red chip player / Elite player at his position
Blue = Blue chip player / Very talented player at his position / above-average
White = Average NFL Player (this isn’t a bad thing)
Orange = Below Average NFL Player / Developmental Player / Unknown
Take a minute…
This defense is so stacked with talent. Are the holes that could use some beefing up? Sure. but when you couple the amount of raw talent we have on our defensive roster with the extremely high quality coaching on the defensive side of the football, this Denver team is still as scary as hell on paper.
Also worth noting is the fact that last year saw a lot of really good luck injury-wise on the defensive side of the ball. We did have some guys miss time, but nothing huge and impactful overall which is a really big reason why we were able to bring home the Lombardi in 2015.
The premier unit is clearly the secondary
The starters for our secondary are the reason why this defense works at such a high level and were in general so consistently good last year, especially in the playoffs. If you doubt this, look back at what happened when Ward and Stewart were both out toward the end of the season. Losses happened because those guys weren’t there and our backups sucked.
As you can see, in my opinion we have a lot of work to do depth-wise at safety and corner. I think Josh Bush can develop into a better player and hopefully this offseason sees him really step up his game.
I do not feel the same way about Shiloh Keo. His play at safety is derp-sauce more often than it is decent. He had a few plays where he was in the right place at the right time, but what flashed to me more from his tape was how often he was out of position, taking bad angles, and not reacting fast enough.
Obviously, as such I see safety as a serious target for this year’s draft. This position is where we lack quality depth the most at and it is such a crucial area for our defense’s success.
At corner, I’m not quite as worried. The guys in our depth chart there are more young than they are bad in my opinion. I do think we’ve seen the best Kayvon Webster has to offer, but the other guys are still learning and growing. This offseason should serve them well.
The other premier unit
Our Outside Line Backing corps is flat out filthy with talent. I don’t see this as a big need given the balance we have of high quality veterans and high quality youth backing them up.
John Elway does love pass rushers and there’s no reason to mess with a formula that is working. That being said, I don’t see Denver pursuing OLBs in this draft unless one falls into their lap.
The line should get attention
There’s opportunity for upgrades along the line. I like the veterans we’ve brought in to bolster the line with Malik Jackson’s absence, but there’s a lot of guys there that are long in the tooth for the NFL.
I would hope to see more of Darius Kilgo this year and less of Sylvester Williams. Williams has always been a solid player, but unspectacular. You can’t have red and blue chips at every position, but I still say you have to look for an upgrade to average at NT.
I like the competition we have across from Derek Wolfe. I think the Jared Crick signing was smart and may be the guy that wins the job up front. This is a prime time to look for a new defensive end to coach up though for 2017 and beyond.
Never gettin no love
Our Inside Linebacker situation I see as being solid. I like the depth we have in place and obviously am a big fan of Brandon Marshall. I’m also very bullish on Todd Davis. I will be surprised if he’s not the starter week 1 barring injury.
We don’t draft linebackers until late typically and I wouldn’t be surprised if this draft follows suit. Look for a late linebacker and possibly an undrafted college free agent to provide depth and competition.