Hello again! It's been a year. I did this exact same article a year ago and then disappeared, but I thought it would be fun to do the article again a year later.
Let's take a quick look at the roster breakdown for 2012 and 2013, and see exactly where we are different and what looks better.
First, here are all the players that made an appearance for the 2012 Broncos. Names in bold were on the opening day roster, names in italics arrived later (either from being acquired or because they were injured/suspended). Philip Blake and Caleb Hanie never made game appearances.
Now, here is the first cut of our 2013 roster (at least until they swap things around on the waiver wire this week).
WR: Andre Caldwell, Eric Decker, Trindon Holliday, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker
TE: Joel Dreessen, Virgil Green, Jacob Tamme, Julius Thomas
Safety: Mike Adams, David Bruton, Duke Ihenacho, Rahim Moore
ST: Aaron Brewer, Britton Colquitt, Matt Prater
QB: Zac Dysert, Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler
So, what are really the differences? If we remove the players that are on both rosters, then here's what it basically comes down to:
WR 2012: Brandon Stokley, Matt Willis
WR 2013: Wes Welker
Let's count this as an improvement! Stokley was great, but Welker is younger and one of the best in the game right now.
For tight end, we have exactly the same roster in 2013 as we did in 2012. However, I think we can say that the unit looks improved now that Julius Thomas looks poised to finally break out and be a dangerous weapon.
CB 2012: Tracy Porter
CB 2013: Quentin Jammer, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Kayvon Webster
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is an upgrade over Tracy Porter, especially since Tracy Porter hardly even played. He should be more than enough to make up for any loss-of-step by Champ Bailey. I'd mark this position as improved.
Safety 2012: Quinton Carter, Jim Leonhard,
(Quinton Carter is on IR.)
Given the loss of Jim Leonhard, it's easy to think we're a bit worse this year, except for the fact that Duke Ihenacho has broken out and become a starter. However, there are some cases where we might be a bit thin at safety on the field, given that Quentin Jammer and Omar Bolden aren't extensively familiar with the position. I'll say this position is a push.
LB 2012: Keith Brooking, Joe Mays, Von Miller, Mike Mohamed, D.J. Williams
LB 2013: Paris Lenon, Shaun Phillips
Von Miller is suspended, so he will be back. But beyond that, we have lost Brooking, Mays, and D.J. Williams, who all made solid contributions along with their various flaws. It's tough to expect that the addition of Shaun Phillips and Paris Lenon would make up for all three of those departures. Nate Irving has improved, but especially when you factor in Von Miller being gone for more than 1/3 of the season, this unit looks worse overall.
DL 2012: Justin Bannan, Elvis Dumervil, Sealver Siliga, Ty Warren
DL 2013: Terrance Knighton, Sylvester Williams
(Quanterus Smith is on IR.)
Lots of turnover in this group (although Warren played only a handful of snaps last season), but the loss of Dumervil hurts. Depending on how you look at it, either either the DL group or the LB group that looks worse this year. We can't argue that Shaun Philips will simultaneously make up for the loss of *both* Miller and Dumervil. We have some added potential in Sylvester Williams, but he had a very underwhelming training camp. I'd say the DL looks slightly worse.
RB 2012: Lance Ball, Chris Gronkowski, Willis McGahee,
RB 2013: C.J. Anderson, Montee Ball
Montee Ball and C.J. Anderson both look like they have a lot of potential, which I think pushes the 2013 crew slightly ahead of the 2012 crew. Especially since Moreno looks to be out of the doghouse, and since Hillman looks to have improved (ball security issues notwithstanding).
OL 2012: Philip Blake, C.J. Davis, Dan Koppen, J.D. Walton
OL 2013: John Moffitt, Steve Vallos, Louis Vasquez
(J.D. Walton is on the PUP list. Dan Koppen is on injured reserve.)
It's tough to say on this one, because Walton was out most of last season anyway. Vasquez is quite good though, so the question is if the upgrade (over Kuper) at guard is better than the downgrade (from Walton/Koppen) at center. I've always been somewhat impressed with Manny Ramirez' run blocking though, so I'll gauge this a slight improvement.
We have the exact same three specialists this year - hopefully Prater's focus on his kicking approach will mean that we'll be slightly improved, but we should reasonably call this a push.
QB 2012: Caleb Hanie
QB 2013: Zac Dysert
I'd like to call this an improvement, just for reasons of potential.
So overall! More offensive weapons and an upgraded secondary. A downgraded front seven, and maybe a shakier offensive line. Better on the outside, a bit worse on the inside. I bet we'll see a few more big plays this year.