FanPost

Rating the Current Roster: A 5 Star Review - Part 1: Offense


It feels like we've been out of football for an eternity already, yet it's actually been less than two months since the Giants upset the Patriots... again.

Of course what this does mean is that we're only one month away from what I personally think is one of the most exciting few days of the football calender - The NFL Draft. As always here on MHR there is a range of different opinions on who the broncos will and/or should select next month. Most of you seem to be concerned with a few specific areas of the team, namely DT, MLB, RB and CB.

Instead of producing another mock draft myself however, I thought that it would be interesting to produce a team report that looks at where we are now, post-free agency, but pre-draft. This article is based on my own opinion, and any comments are as ever welcome. This fan post will now examine the current roster in an effort to find our biggest strengths and weaknesses as a team, rating each individual player at every position out of 5 stars. To make things a little more interesting, I will also rate a player's 'future potential' on this scale, taking into account the time for improvement that our youngsters have. Read on after the jump!

Firstly, lets take a look at the ranking system

  • 1 star: * Training camp fodder/practice squad player. This player should only be contributing during an injury crisis.
  • 2 stars: ** This player should represent depth at a position, able to contribute in specific packages.
  • 3 stars *** This is an average player in the NFL. Starting material, though not in the top 15-20 at his position
  • 4 stars **** This is a very good player. In the top 10-15 of the league at his respective position.
  • 5 stars ***** One of the very best in the league.

Today's fan post will rate the current offensive players on the Broncos roster. This list however will not include every player on the roster, just those at the top 2-3 places on the depth chart.

Quarterback

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via static6.businessinsider.com

Peyton Manning:

Current: 4 stars.

Future Potential: 5 stars.

In my mind, Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback that I have ever been lucky enough to watch play. If you were to look up 'field general' in the dictionary, I'm sure you'll find a mug shot of Peyton. Our Peyton however might not be the same man that is getting bored of winning the MVP honours. Coming of 4 neck surgeries, in addition to reports that Manning might have lost some velocity on his throws is a little concerning to me. That having been said, an 80% Peyton Manning is still a fantastic asset, and he has every opportunity to prove his doubters wrong, regain his strength over the offseason and come back as fresh as ever.

Caleb Hanie

Current: 1.5 stars.

Future Potential: 2 stars.

Maybe I'm being a little harsh, but this is the one free agent acquisition that I'm really against. Relaying the concerns above, there is at least a chance that Manning could be injured next season (touch wood). Given the clauses in his contract, Denver have protected themselves on one front, writing off a lot of the salary based on potential injuries. However this alone is not enough. As a starter last year Hanie was 0-4 with a 1:3 TD:INT ratio, barely scraping a 50% completion rate. In his defense, this is a small sample size, and he is still a young player. Nevertheless, the Bears were playoff contenders until Hanie got the keys.


Adam Weber

Current: 1.5 stars.

Future Potential: 2.5 stars.

This is a difficult one. Not attending weekly practices I don't really have a gauge on how good a quarterback Adam Weber is, or even could be. I do remember his 80+ yard effort in what I believe is his only ever attempted NFL pass last pre-season. Let's see more of that please.

Running Back

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via 1.bp.blogspot.com

Willis McGahee

Current: 3.5 stars

Future Potential: At Ceiling

McGahee was a really present surprise last year. Whilst Tebow provided some magic during our turnaround winning streak, the team rode on Willis' back. Averaging 4.8 yards a carry on a team that the opposition knew was going to pound the ball is a fantastic feat. That said, McGahee had more carries last year than he has had in a single season since 2007. He is far from done just yet, though needs a reliable back to share the loads with.

Knowshon Moreno

Current: 2.5 stars

Future Potential: 3.5 stars

It surprised me to find out that Moreno is still only 24 years old. Knowshon has been largely disappointing in his so far short career, not living up to the level of hype that being the 12th overall selection brings with it. That being said, Last season Moreno looked more like a fighter that we'd ever seen before, this was exactly what his game needed. I'm not too down on Moreno, I genuinely believe that the potential is still there, until his injury last season he was averaging 4.8 ypc. This is the problem though. Moreno cannot survive another significant injury, the rating I have given here is dependent on him staying fit, something he has still not managed.

Other Players:

Lance Ball: Current: 2 stars Future Potential: At Ceiling

Jeremiah Johnson: Current: 2 stars Future Potential: 2.5 stars

Offensive Line

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via upload.wikimedia.org

Ryan Clady

Current: 4 stars

Future Potential: 4.5 stars

Since his unbelievable rookie season, Clady's production has not been as impressive. Over the last three years Clady has given up an average of over 8 sacks a season, and last year was responsible for 80 yards of penalties. Some context though. Over the last three years he has been protecting Kyle 'fetal position' Orton, and Tim 'lefty/where the hell is he going?' Tebow. Clady will be going back to protecting his quaterback's blindside next year, and with Peyton's quicker release, I see Clady having a good statistical year.

Chris Kuper

Current: 4 stars

Future Potential: Dependent on injury.

I'm going to go ahead and say it, I think Chris Kuper is fantastic. He has never allowed more than 5 sacks in a single season, and he contributes well to the running game. The only issue with Kuper is how quickly he can recover from his broken leg.

J.D. Walton

Current: 2.5 stars

Future Potential: 3.5 stars

I know that some of us were hoping for Jeff Saturday to reunite with Peyton Manning, but J.D. Walton is 'good enough' for now, and is still young. It will be interesting to continue watching his development as our young offensive line improves.

Zane Beadles

Current: 3 stars

Future Potential: 3.5 stars

Versatile, and pretty athletic for his size, Beadles should continue to improve in this third season. Even if Beadles were to regress, his versatility would make him a valuable asset in terms of depth.

Orlando Franklin

Current: 2.5 stars

Future Potential: 3 stars

Franklin allowed 8 sacks last year, though it should be noted that for over half of the season he was protecting Tim Tebow's blindside. He did struggle at times, though it can be easy to remember that this was just his rookie year in the NFL. Similarly to Beadles, should Franklin show any signs of regression, his versatility means that he could still be a very useful depth member. It will be interesting to see if Ryan Harris pushes Franklin next year.

Wide Receiver

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via www.fastfoodrecipes.org

Demariyus Thomas

Current: 3.5 stars

Potential: 4.5 stars

Thomas' numbers last season were at first glance underwhelming, manging just over 500 yards on the season. At least they are until you take into account that he only actually started 5 games, averaged over 17 ypc, was part of a run-first offense, and was the main piece in one of the most memorable plays in recent Bronco memory. I'm really high on Thomas and can't wait to see how he performs with Peyton Manning. He's an incredible athlete, and last year really brushed up on his route running, something that he had issues with out of college. Thomas' main concern is staying healthy, if he can stay fit then I see no reason why he can't be one of the best receivers in the NFL.

Eric Decker

Current: 3 stars

Potential: 3.5 stars

Decker adjusted incredibly well to Tim Tebow, managing an 8 touchdown season. With Thomas recovering from injury, and Eddie Royal not managing to recapture the magic from his rookie year, Decker stepped up. I love Decker, his attitude and his personality. He doesn't have what it takes to be a top number one receiver however, and that is reflected in his rating. Down the stretch Decker seemed to have an issue with drops, though we'll see how much of an impact a change at quarterback has on that side of his game. Decker is still young, and will hopefully contribute as a bronco for a long time.

Andre Caldwell

Current: 2 stars

Potential: 2.5 stars

Caldwell has presumably been signed as a replacement for Eddie Royal, he was a kick returner at the Bengals, and will likely play the slot role assuming the Broncos don't sign another receiver this offseason. Caldwell however has never returned a kick for a touchdown (Royal returned 3 k/p for TDs in the same number of seasons). His numbers have been consistent over the last few years, averaging about 350 yards per season, less than Royal (with the exception of last year during our less than conventional offense), with a similar ypc average. I'm just not too keen on this acquisition if it is indeed seen by the FO as a replacement. I don't rate Caldwell or Hill as highly as Royal, and whilst Royal has been struggling of late, he could have seen a resurgence under Peyton Manning. Interestingly Caldwell is one of the oldest players we now have at the position. He is only 26.

Other Players:

Jason Hill: Current: 2 stars Future Potential: At Ceiling?

Tight End

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via cdn.bleacherreport.net

Jacob Tamme

Current: 3 stars

Future Potential: 3.5 stars

I like this signing. As clutch as Daniel Fells was at times this year, I see Tamme as an upgrade. In 2010, following a Dallas Clarke injury, Tamme really stepped up, amassing over 600 yards in just 8 starts. Tamme gives Manning some familiarity too, so expect him to be a safety valve when Peyton is under pressure. Not much of a blocking tight end, but we have that base covered with our other TE free agent signing.

Joel Dreessen

Current 2.5 stars

Future Potential: At Ceiling

I like this signing too. Blocking tight ends are often so undervalued, but Dreesen isn't that one dimensional. He has amassed over 1000 yards receiving in his last 3 seasons as a number two tight end. We might have overpaid slightly, but I do believe that both of our new tight ends are upgrades over last year.

Other Players:

Julius Thomas: Current: 1.5 stars Future Potential: 4 stars

Virgil Green: Current: 1.5 stars Future Potential: 2.5 stars

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With regards to our top offensive needs then, my personal opinion is that we really could do with another wide receiver, either a slot guy, or a solid number 2 (moving Decker to the slot). I'm not sure that running back is as desperate a need as a lot of fans think it is, so I'd rather we addressed this later in the draft, especially not in round one. We clearly need to sign a fullback at some point too with the departure of Larsen. Personally I see most of our roster issues as being on the other side of the ball, but these will be examined in further detail in the next installment of this fan post.

Thanks for reading, and as ever these ratings are based on personal opinion, feel free to contest them!

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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