With offseason programs starting, the Denver Broncos will need to evaluate which positions will require the most depth, although some positions are obvious that there is a player of difference desired. The obvious positions that will have many speculations and questions surrounding them are the left tackle and quarterback positions. These positions will garner much attention throughout the remainder of the offseason; however the positions to watch are at receiver, tight end and running back.
Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are the top two receivers on the roster and essentially need some help. Therefore opposing teams won’t focus or double down on them as much. Heading into the 2017 NFL Draft, the Broncos have Cody Latimore, Bennie Fowler, Jordan Taylor, and Kalif Raymond as the backup receivers. At times last season, it was difficult for these guys to create space and be effective in games. With offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, the Broncos will be more of a “pass happy” offense and there will be more opportunity for these players to become a focal part of the Denver passing attack. Although, there is not a true slot receiver among the ranks, so look for the Broncos to draft a receiver or pick up a veteran when initial cuts are made to heat up competition or fill the void in that role.
A receiver is clearly wanted, although the tight end battle will be intriguing to watch as well. It will be interesting to see how the coaching staff utilizes these players that have very different skill sets. Virgil Green is projected to be the starting tight end for the upcoming season with Jeff Heuerman as the backup. The Broncos also have A.J. Derby and Henry Krieger-Coble on the depth chart.
Since Julius Thomas left town after the 2014 season, the team has struggled at the tight end position to produce offense. Pre-Thomas tight ends only contributed more to blocking for the run game or opening up lanes for the receiver corps with minimal offense attributes. Denver will certainly need to get tight ends more active in the offensive scheme so that opposing defenses will need to apply personnel to cover these guys, opening up more space for the receivers.
Finally, the most under the radar, but extremely interesting, battle going into next season will be at the running back position. C.J. Anderson is at the top spot on the depth chart although injury ruined his season last year and he will be competing to retain the top back position. Right on his heels is Devontae Booker with situational reps coming from Juwan Thompson and Kapri Bibbs. The upcoming draft will be interesting with John Elway and company most certainly drafting or signing an additional run threat to compete. This was one area on offense that never really got going during last season, so every Broncos’ fan should observe what goes on from OTA’s until the last preseason game.
Nonetheless, there are bound to be plenty of position battles during the offseason programs that should be watched. The quarterback and left tackle battles will be intriguing on their own, but these battles should peak the interest of many. With the addition of rookies and a few more free agent signings, the battles will officially begin. Time will tell and so will Denver’s front office moves.