Now that we've taken a look at the defense, let's flip sides and see how our beloved Broncos shape up on offense. I think the common fan would probably guess that we wouldn't need much on offense judging by how 2013 went (record-setting, in case you were living under a rock for a year).
I'm going to break down our position groups and put some thoughts down on the guys we have. Please note I won't be addressing every guy on our current roster...only those who I've seen play either in training camp, pre-season, or regular season in the NFL that made an impression on me. I'll then rate each position with a rank of 1-5, with 1 being a "we have no talent here" and 5 being "we are set with starters and great depth".
Peyton Manning: Let's start this off right. We have the best quarterback in the NFL in my mind under center for 2014. Sure he's aged and an injury risk, but we keep him clean in the pocket so I'm not very worried about his position as a whole.
Brock Osweiler: We haven't truly seen much from Brock in true game situations, but what I've seen in training camp and the preseason gives me a little confidence. Brock has a great arm and when he has time to set and throw is accurate. He's a solid back-up in my mind just for the fact of if he has to start at any point this season at least we'll get a true idea of what he brings to the table...at some point we need to find out.
Zac Dysert: Elway talked this guy up a lot last year. He's just depth to me and nothing I saw last year made me excited...but the guy plays with the 3rd stringers typically so what do we really know?
Rating - 5: We all know that if Manning goes down our year is in serious trouble, but you can't carry around 4 QBs in my mind. We've made our bed really and need to lie in it...that's why I rate us a 5 at QB. I think it would be rather silly to go after a serious QB prospect this year.
Demaryius Thomas: Aside from our QB, here is a guy you can call a cornerstone of your offense. DT is a supreme talent and a freak of nature. He's big, strong, fast, runs great routes, and has superb hands. Dude also blocks like a boss in case you've never paid attention to that facet of his game.
Wes Welker: Wes is another guy you can run your offense through. It didn't really shine last year, but it doesn't have to in this offense. Also keep in mind he is ageing for a WR and has quite the history of concussions (scary as heck). That being said I put a lot of faith in his ability to play the slot or fill in on the outside if we had a couple of major injuries at WR.
Emmanuel Sanders: Count me in as a guy who really liked this signing. I didn't see it coming at all, but I like Emmanuel's game very much. He's very dangerous in the open-field using a combo of speed and quickness. This is a guy who I think you will see turn a couple of WR screens into TDs this year. Teams will have to account for him because of what a dangerous weapon he is and I for one think our offense just got an upgrade (and that's not just Bronco homerism talking).
Andre Caldwell: I'm one of the few who has really liked Andre's game the past two years. His only fault is that he's on this team with better players in front of him. I absolutely think he can push for playing time though and he deserves to rotate in or be the guy to step in in case of an injury. The #4 WR slot is his and I think he has a puncher's chance at the #2 if he can out play Emmanuel in training camp.
Gerell Robinson: Yeah yeah he's a TE. I've only seen him at WR though so that's where I'm keeping him. I've liked the work he's put in with us and think he has potential at either TE or WR for us as depth / ST.
Rating - 4: DT is getting paid next year. Other than that we have a lot of open options and with a WR-heavy draft like this one it may make a lot of sense to get a young WR on the team to start developing. It isn't a great need in my mind though and I can't bring myself to rate us worse than a 4.
Julius Thomas: Here's another guy that is getting paid next year. He's a top-3 receiving TE that needs to work on his blocking. That's a wish for me more than a need honestly...I was watching Denver when Shannon Sharp played and I know your TE doesn't have to block well to have an impact. I also watched last year...JT sucked a lot at blocking but who really remembers that? I remember a lot more big 1st downs and TDs. Also...he's getting paid next year too.
Jacob Tamme: I'm a big fan of Tamme. He's a hybrid TE/WR for us and showed that last year when he filled in while Welker was out. He is very expensive for a guy that doesn't see the field much though and if he stays after this year it will be because he's willing to take a pay cut. He is a guy that is the same mold as JT though...he's a receiver more so than a blocker.
Virgil Green: Here's a guy that can actually block at TE. But the thing everyone tends to forget is that he also is a very talented receiving option. I don't know why the Broncos don't use him more, but he's an untapped weapon that I hope we keep on the team as he provides great depth.
Joel Dreessen: Last year I was a big fan of Joel's. Since then he's been pretty dinged up and not able to see the field as much because of the progress of JT. I can actually see us letting him go once he's rehabilitated his knee as it would free up some cap room that could be better saved for next year.
Rating - 3: Here's another personnel group that at a glance looks set, but when you look past this year we actually have a bit of a need at TE. This is a group full of expiring contracts and we need a new guy to get seasoned up for next year.
Montee Ball: Here's our next stud RB says him and all the Montee Ball fanbois. I will say he has the potential, but I'm not sold. Using a cowbell system hasn't been supremely successful for most teams in the NFL in the modern era and nothing I saw last year makes me think that Ball is on the level of Adrian Peterson. I do think he's got to be a shoe-in for the #1 RB spot, but he's only one guy.
CJ Anderson: Here's the joker out of our RB group. I liked all the potential we saw from him last year, but he's a big question mark in many ways. His durability is in question and our sample size on him is very small. I do think he makes the team and could even be our #2 with a good showing in training camp.
Rating - 2: I know I'll hear about it in the comments, but there is a big reason I didn't mention Ronnie Hillman. I don't think he's worth the roster spot. I don't have any faith in his ability to be depth let alone have a serious role on the team at this point. The guy is a bust and that leaves our small group of RBs as a busted up unit. As much as Broncos Country may hate to draft another RB after two straight years in the draft, we may not only get one, but two this year. The only reason I didn't rate the RB group a 1 was because I think so highly of the potential of Montee and CJ.
Ryan Clady: It will be a sight for sore eyes to see Clady back at Left Tackle this year. His injury was a big reason that we had a 35 point deficit in our Super Bowl loss. Clady does it all and is paid like it. He's terrific in the run game and at pass blocking. You have to question his ability after a Lisfranc injury like he had, but given enough time to heal it shouldn't hinder him moving forward.
Orlando Franklin: Until we see him move to Guard in training camp, I'm calling him our Right Tackle. He can play either position and I think he'd do very well at G, but the dude hasn't sucked at RT (Super Bowl aside). He's a better run blocker than a pass blocker, but he grades well in both areas (thanks in part to Manning's quick releases).
Chris Clark: Chris exceeded my expectations last year. He was a very solid fill-in for Clady and it is going to benefit him greatly in my mind. He provides superb depth for us even though he has trouble with speed rushers.
Rating - 5: If these three guys stay at Tackle, we are set. If Franklin really does move to guard then this rating changes to a 3 and you can bet your mortgage that we will be drafting a Tackle.
Louis Vasquez: This guy is the Guard equivalent of Peyton Manning. He's an All-Pro guard and was an absolute steal last year in free agency (suck it San Diego!). This is the kind of guy you use as an anchor of your offensive line in the NFL.
Manny Ramirez: What a story Ramirez is. This guy was a fringe depth player for us for years and thank goodness our coaches believed in him. Keep in mind he's a guy that can play any of the three interior spots and as such provides us with some serious flexibility in case of an injury.
Will Montgomery: Will is a veteran brought in as some sorely needed depth for the interior line. I thought it was a brilliant move even if he doesn't rate highly.
Rating - 3: If Orlando moves to Guard, change this rating to a 5 of course (I bet you didn't see that coming). I'm honestly pleased with how our line shapes up overall...we are just missing one guy to be comfortable.
Here's a quick wrap up of where I think this puts us:
For easy reference, here was what we saw from Part 1:
Final No-Bull Thoughts
When I look at the raw numbers right there it doesn't jive with what I think of our team overall. I think this is in part due to my look to the future as a GM instead of our personnel of right now. If Sadaraine were going to be in charge in the war room starting Thursday night for our beloved team, here is what you could expect (and thankfully I won't be...of course har har):
- We will be drafting one, if not two, Running Backs (though one could be undrafted honestly...we have a great scouting department)
- I would try harder to find a good Free Safety prospect in the early rounds even harder than I would try for a MLB
- I would definitely pick up a Corner Back as well (the draft is pretty deep with them from what I've seen)
- I would still try very hard to land Shazier or Mosely in the 1st round and consider trading up to do so (I'd even consider trading some of next year's middle draft picks in a package since we should have some good comp picks coming in)
- I'd take the best OT or OG that falls in my lap
- Unless an awesome TE prospect drops to us, I'd probably ignore that position as we can fill it in Free Agency next year
- Finally, I would jump on any Defensive End that my scouts really liked if they dropped to us (from the mock drafts I've seen this is very possible in rounds 1-3 this year)