Honestly, this is the first time I've even thought about the 2014 season since Denver's miserable performance in the Super Bowl. Just thought of a couple ideas that maybe I could catch some feedback on regarding how we should go about this upcoming offseason to make a return back to the Super Bowl with the exception of us actually winning it this time. Let me know what you guys think...
First thing's first: Free Agency
We need to resign a couple guys to some relatively cheap deals that were able to contribute a bit over the year.
(Not sure if Ayers will make it back but I think it would be beneficial to keep him if the price is considerably "right")
Darren McFadden (RB): Yes I know, he's been horribly injury-plagued and his attitude isn't all that great but if Elway can sign him to a cheap contract to jump-start his career (notably twice per year against his old team) it would help our running game immensely with the probable loss of Knowshon to a bigger contract with another team. After all, I believe Montee Ball will be the featured back next year and with McFadden being in a secondary role, he may be able to stay healthy and effective. Alternative choice: Maurice Jones-Drew??? (Just an idea)
Devin Hester (KR/PR): Notice I put position as KR/PR only and not WR as well. Let him focus on what he does best and he will change games or put them away. Trindon Holliday is great but he has been too inconsistent and has fumbled the ball way too many times to trust him. Hester shouldn't cost that much either...
____________ (WR): I didn't feel the need to pick an actual wide receiver because there are so many decent options if Decker is dumb enough to leave. If he isn't, add him to the resigned list at the beginning ^.
Brian Orakpo (DE): Coming out of Texas he was a freak at DE who just happened to be good enough to excel at OLB for a 3-4 team. He will cost a ton of money but with the increase in cap room and whatever is done with Champ Bailey, I think there is enough to hand him to terrorize offenses with Von Miller once he's healthy again. This move would be worth it despite the cost.
Donald Butler (ILB): Not really sure this one will work out which is going to come up later in the post regarding the draft. If we could scoop him up from a division rival and put someone in the middle of our D who will be a vocal leader and be consistent, things would start to look pretty good.
Terrence Cody (DT): Shouldn't command a big contract given his little production. Not even really a priority for us but it would certainly help our DL be a top unit given a chance to stuff the middle with Big Vick, Wolfe, and Sly Williams.
Round 1: Calvin Pryor (FS)
Our version of Kam Chancellor....trust me I haven't seen anything bad about this kid. If you haven't heard of him yet, look him up. He would be a perfect compliment to Rahim Moore in the back and start from Day 1 making an impact.
Round 2: Kyle Fuller (CB)
This kid can play...he's a cerebral player who has decent size. He's the third corner on Mayock's cornerback rankings. The other two probably won't make it even to the second round, let alone slip down to our pick. This guy will come in and contribute to a potentially top unit already featuring DRC and Chris Harris Jr when healthy.
Round 3: Keith McGill (CB)
Two corners back-to-back? Absolutely. I don't really think Champ will be back next year and McGill has the physical characteristics to draw comparisons to Richard Sherman (noticing a trend here?). He may not be a stud from Day 1, but there is a significantly high ceiling for this player and I would be stoked if he was in orange and blue. In this league nowadays, you can never have too many corners; especially big ones. This would close out a dominant unit with Moore, Pryor, Harris, DRC, and Fuller.
Round 4: Shayne Skov (ILB)
If we don't get Donald Butler in FA, this is a top priority. Denver needs somebody who can command the center of the defense who has a phenomenal passion for the game. A truly emotional leader with great instincts. I would even draft him regardless of Butler but if necessary an OL or DL could be selected here.
Round 5: Cassius Marsh (DE)
This is a MAN. I'm not saying he is JJ Watt, but he is another emotional guy who will demand 100% out of not only himself but everyone else around him. Had some decent production throughout his career at UCLA.
Round 6: Tyler Gaffney (RB)
Just in case McFadden doesn't work out or happens to get injured somehow. Tyler Gaffney was a tough runner who can pound the ball down the field right through a defense. This would help bring some of that nasty attitude we need on offense.
Round 7: Shaquelle Evans (WR)
Was used as a #1 target for the high-powered UCLA offense this past year. Obviously with DT we would only need him to be a solid #2 WR if Decker were to leave and no free agents appeared to be suitable to us. He could be a great WR to groom for a bit to develop into a #2.
I know that you guys may disagree with the two offensive picks but I'm really trying to look at this draft through the perspective of hopefully drafting the best players available while also tending to some of the holes the team has or lacks depth. I think if Denver could pull-off a draft class like this and picking up some of those key free agents I mentioned, there should be no reason why we can't compete with either probably Seattle or San Francisco in the Super Bowl next year in what I think will be Peyton's final year. The only way to have Peyton get one more ring is by modeling our defense after the very team that dismantled us in the Big Game itself. Imagine having that type of stifling and intimidating defense the Seahawks have while also having the potent offense we already have...Thanks for reading, Go Broncos!
Also, let me know which position you think Denver should address in the draft first!!