After proposing my opinion about the three most glaring positions of need, I would like now to make my analysis about other positions of need that in my opinion will have to be fixed by the Broncos during the 2012 offseason.
Denver has to get better at:
- Tight End
- Running Back
Daniel Fells is an interesting player and I do think that is worth to be re-signed to a 2 years contract. He made some good catches and showed that he could move the chains; anyhow he is no nightmare to any defensive coordinator. I think he could be a short-gap solution for the next year or two still.
Dante Rosario in some sites is listed as a free agent in others not, he was brought in, cut and then brought in again. I don’t have anything against him, but I would let him go in free agency because I would bet on developing Virgil Green and Julius Thomas.
Although Thomas probably would require one more year of learning football, Virgil Green could inherit to role of Dante Rosario on the team next year and see more action as catching tight end. He will learn experience together with proportioning great values with his ability as HB, blocking tight end and special teamer. He is one of my sleepers on the Broncos roster.
Julius Thomas was drafted in the back of the 4th round in the 2011 draft and showed little or nothing during 2011 regular season. Still I believe that the coaches that drafted him are still working on his development because he could be the kind of nightmare tight end that the Broncos need. Also it has to be remembered that Coach Fox never relied on pass catching tight end in Carolina and this could also be a reason why Broncos fans didn’t had the opportunity to see much of Thomas this year. Next year he should be better and could even start to produce strongly by the second part of the year just like Demaryious Thomas did in 2011.
I really do believe that Denver has to believe in these two guys that have drafted last year because developing young player is the better way to create a Great Organization, trusting past decision and investing in them are two important aspects of FO that will turn a good football team in a dynasty that could compete every year for getting to the SB.
Cornelius Ingram was added to the practice squad later during the past year and he signed a future contract with the Broncos. He will compete in training camp.
I think that the Denver Broncos has to get better at tight end position, but my recipe for this position is to develop the in-house talent. I would be really pleased if the Broncos re-sign Fells as insurance for a couple of years, give more playing time to Green and follow developing Julius Thomas maybe increasing, in the second half of the year, his playing time. I won’t carry more than 3 tight ends on the active roster next year, I would add a rookie to the practice squad, a CFA for example, but I won’t draft any tight end this year basically for 3 reasons:
- I don’t see any superstar TE in this year draft
- Denver invested two draft picks last year on the position
- Fox is not involving that much tight ends in his passing game
The safety position has to be evaluated carefully by Broncos FO.
Brian Dawkins is a free agent and is likely to retire or to leave BroncoLand (he didn’t play in Playoffs but did in the Pro-Bowl?....something smells bad here…).
David Bruton is a special team ace and starts to show signs of developing as a defender.
Denver drafted Rahim Moore in the 2nd round last draft but he is to light and missed tons of tackles when he had to play in 2011.
Quinton Carter started the season as Dawkins or Moore replacement, eventually replaced Moore, played as a rookie in pair with Dawkins, was completely lost while playing together with Moore but finally played quite good while paired with Bruton, getting one interception in each playoff game. His performance in playoff games doesn’t have to be underestimate, when it counted most he created turnovers and what is pretty amazing is that he got them against Roethlisberger and Brady…..not too bad for a 4th round pick. I’m convinced that he will carry his momentum through training camp and he’ll be one of the starters next year, possibly at strong safety.
Rafael Bush was a second week addition that played sparingly towards the end of the season when Dawkins was injured. I don’t know that much about him apart that before being claimed by the Broncos he was on the Falcons practice squad. He will compete next training camp for a role in the team. Bubble player.
David Bruton really didn’t played bad football when he stepped up for an injured Brian Dawkins at the end of the season. I do hope he could develop some more and competing for the starting job in training camp.
Bruton will have to fight with Moore. Rahim Moore is the player on the Broncos roster that I hope could really rebound from an underperforming year. He was thought to be the safety starter that Denver needed to pair up with Dawkins, but he is too light and displayed not enough tackling abilities at pro-level. His future depends on how bigger he could get and how much he learned from the sideline this year. As I said, I really would like him to step up and shows progress next season.
A part the players on the roster, Denver will probably have to bring in some experienced safeties through free-agency, if Brian Dawkins retire. IMO Denver would really need Dawkins to stick with the team even as assistant coach. He would help developing players such Moore, Carter and Bruton. If the Broncos could not retain his leadership, the team will be really weakened and an experienced safety has to be brought to training camp, competing with the youngster for the second starting position.
I don’t think the broncos will spend another draft pick on a safety because I don’t see a sure fire prospect (even Barron that just had double hernia surgery) and George Iloka (Boise State) will be over drafted probably (barring a pitiful performance at the combine) because of his size.
Running back is a position where I really do feel the Broncos should do something in the draft.
McGahee was fantastic last year but he missed an explosive complementary runner that could alternate him. Willis will be 31 years old, he could have a couple of year more at high level but he just can’t take that many hits as he did last year. He carried the boat and has been bang up a lot at the end of Broncos run. From a fan standpoint I really like him and respect him as a player and competitor. He came to Denver via free agency last year, beat everyone out and carried the load the whole year in a running offense that rarely found help in the passing game. The few times he missed snaps because of injuries Denver offense was basically awful (with the exception of the win in KC).
Lance Ball did good things at times (30 runs in KC), but he was given enough carries to have a full evaluation of his abilities and didn’t spark. He is a great team player, he could carry the ball in case of need but I don’t see him as McGahee counterpart, sharing starting duties. He is a good insurance player that you like to back up starters in case of injury.
Jeremiah Johnson didn’t have enough snaps for letting fans know what Denver has in him. Sure coaches see him in practice and know what he can do and how much he could develop. He will compete in training camp.
Knowshon Moreno is a fraud. He is injury prone (he went down to injury every year) plus I don’t think he fits the kind of play Coach Fox wants to play. He still is a great 3rd down back. He could catch the ball really well and has a great running progression that used well could be a dangerous weapon for the Broncos. He is not a leading back and does not have the mentality to be. I would still keep him (DUI or not) and use his receiving skills together with some runs to confuse the opposing defense. Anyhow he should have not been picked in the 1st round….not even close to the 1st round. For this reason he is a fraud.
Xavier Omon was signed to the practice squad at the end of the year and will compete in training camp.
Mario Fannin went down with an injury at the beginning of the past training camp. He signed a future contract and I’m actually really interested to see what he could bring to the table. Denver signed him as CFA, so I don’t think that he could be the next Peterson, but he could actually create some havoc in Denver depth chart.
Denver could think to select a running back in the Draft. Coach Fox selected two running backs in the 1st round while he was head coach of the Carolina Panthers. I don’t see any running back in the 2012 draft worth to be chosen between the 20th and 32nd picks and I hope the Broncos won’t blow up the entire draft for trade up and grab Richardson (Alabama). But in the 2nd or 3rd round Denver could find some nice player that could be paired with McGahee and share starting duties. My favorite could be Doug Martin in the 2nd round, if he won’t blow out minds at the combine and be selected at the end of the 1st round. If not him I really do think that in the 3rd and 4th round of this draft there is enough talent for Denver selecting somebody that could be a solid help next year.