It may be Manning Mania that has the Mile High City football faithful bubbling over with excitement, but the Broncos' strong core of young players has the team primed for a potential title run in 2012.
As the numbers continue to pile in of record-setting attendance at the first day of Denver Broncos training camp, I continue to be impressed with the young core of the Broncos, and how this team is generating hype not only because of its $100 million signal caller, but many other players on the team as well.
Bill Williamson of ESPN reports that safety Rahim Moore is working with the Broncos' first defense as the team opens up camp Thursday, and also that there are some in the scouting community who believe that Denver's third round pick--running back Ronnie Hillman--could supplant Willis McGahee as the team's top back as a youngster.
I also read an article on ESPN (which I posted as a FanShot) about how Denver's pass rush tandem of Elvis Dumervil, 28, and Von Miller, 23, are the top pass rushing tandem in the AFC.
There is also talk right now of Denver's star left tackle Ryan Clady being offered a five year, $50 million contract worth $28 million in guarantees. Clady has yet to accept such an offer, but at only 25 years of age, he has established himself as one of the top offensive tackles in the world.
Not to mention, Denver's franchise player was its kicker--27 year old Matt Prater who just signed a four year contract extension with the team.
It appears as though the Broncos have quite a bit to be excited about in terms of the future of their roster, and we haven't even touched on the team's wide receiver duo of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, both of whom were selected in the 2010 NFL Draft.
As a matter of fact, the only skill position players (RB, WR, TE) the Broncos have on the roster who are 30 years of age or older are Willis McGahee (2011 Pro Bowler), Joel Dreessen (30), and Brandon Stokley (36). Other than those three players, the next oldest Bronco offensive skill player is 28-year old wide receiver Matthew Willis.
The point I'm trying to make is this--the Broncos are a young team, especially offensively, where these players will grow and grow under the veteran leadership of a guy like Peyton Manning. This is a very young team that could have some growing pains early on, especially given the transition that the team is going to be going through in becoming a much more balanced, maybe even pass-heavy offensive attack. That being said, the Broncos' talent is undeniable and it is absolutely magnified by the fact that Manning is the guy orchestrating the offense.
Manning may be the focus of the Denver Broncos' 2012 season, but it's the youth on this team that will be given the chance to shine and make a world championship possible for this team for the first time since 1999.