The Broncos held the best overall record in the AFC and tied with Atlanta for the best in the NFL. Yet in the end, it meant little as the Broncos lost their first playoff game to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.
The Broncos made huge strides this season, however. In 2010 the Broncos were 4-12. In 2011 the Broncos were 8-8. In 2012, the Broncos were 13-3 with a top 5 offense and defense. However, the team was not without problems in certain areas. There are certain needs that needs to be addressed and I am interested in what direction the Broncos will take.
RE-SIGN RYAN CLADY
Since the Broncos drafted Ryan Clady, he has been considered one of the premier left tackles in all of football. Clady will for sure have earned himself a major payday after having a fantastic season in 2012. A solid left tackle you cannot value enough when you have a quarterback who plays with the style Manning does. The Broncos have multiple needs and since they have Clady, it would be a shame to have to go out and find another tackle. In 5 years, Clady has never missed a start, and in 2012 only gave up one sack and had 7 penalties. Clady will cost a lot of money but he is worth every penny.
It was very evident during the season that the Broncos still have not solved their problem at middle linebacker. Joe Mays got the job to start the year but he was such a liability in coverage the Broncos had to look elsewhere. Keith Brooking was put in the role but unfortunately no player really is able to beat age and his speed, or lack thereof, was displayed. Nate Irving may very well get a crack at the starting spot next season out of anyone on the roster, but depending what is out there in the draft or through free agency, the Broncos should look for a quick fix. No one said winning is cheap. If the Broncos can find a solution there it would fill a major hole this team has had for a long time.
It seems every year the Broncos have this need on their list. The Ty Warren experiment has not worked out well due to his inability to stay healthy. Kevin Vickerson had a nice year and I would not be upset if the Broncos re-signed him but I still think we need a bigger plug in the middle. The Broncos have pass rushing pieces but need to find something up the middle to prevent the quarterbacks from just stepping up.
The Broncos had some tough luck in last years draft. Multiple times they missed out on the player they wanted by once pick. I'm pretty sure the Broncos wanted David Decastro at 25 and he was grabbed at 24. Then when they traded back, I think they wanted Doug Martin and were not able to get him so they moved back again and took Derek Wolfe, who was not a disappointment, but Doug Martin would have been huge. For me, I think Willis McGahee should not be around next year. He had fumble issues, his age is up there and has missed games in both seasons with the Broncos. Knowshon Moreno would be around very cheap, is the best pass protection and receiving back Denver has. I am a fan of Ronnie Hillman but he is by no means a workload back and I think the Broncos will dip into free agency for a running back.
I do think receiver is an issue on this team. Not entering opening day, but should Decker or Thomas go down, this team would be in trouble. I like our tight end depth and I hope Virgin Green can get more looks eventually, but I think we could still use another stud receiver. Decker is a UFA next season and Thomas will be too soon. Stokley will only have one more year in him most likely if the team re-signs him and they could use another younger guy. The big move would be trading a second or third round pick for Percy Harvin, but by doing that, you will need to sign him to a bigger contract which would ensure that one of Thomas or Decker do not stick around.
What are your thoughts? Did I miss something? What is the teams biggest need?