Free agency is just around the corner for the NFL, and it is a great time to take a nice long look at what the Denver Broncos have in the cupboard. Every ounce of this is my own personal opinion based off what I’ve seen from the players.
Today we’re continuing our series with our special teams and find out what holes the Broncos should be looking to fill in the 2018 NFL offseason.
We’re going to use the following system to rank the players:
1 - Project / developmental - Not ready
2 - Backup quality - good for a spell
3 - Mediocre starter - Meh...he can play
4 - Good starter - Solid player
5 - Superb player - Playmaking stud
I’ll rate each unit as follows based off of my assessment of the individual pieces the Broncos have on hand:
1 - Blow it up - the Broncos have nothing NFL quality to work with
2 - Severely lacking at least one starter
3 - Mediocre need
4 - Solid talent and depth
5 - NFL super group
Brandon McManus - 4
McManus had quite the let-down last season after signing a contract extension. I always hate to see that from an NFL player, but it is what it is. I still think McManus is a superb kicker even with the short- to mid-range accuracy issues we saw last season. He has one of the biggest legs in the NFL and hopefully will get back to being awesome in 2018.
Riley Dixon - 5
I honestly think we have one of the best punters in the NFL in Riley Dixon. He’s got a huge leg and has shown some really clutch punting and skillful placement in his short time with the Broncos.
Overview - 4
I’m giving McManus a bit of leniency here. I also think a lot of the problems we had last year stemmed from poor coaching. Look for this unit to be very solid in 2018.
WAS poor. And I am the first person to admit that. Thank you very much https://t.co/00nT0fPuUm— Brandon McManus (@thekidmcmanus) January 9, 2018
Isaiah McKenzie - 1
McKenzie may turn into an NFL football player, but it sure as heck isn’t likely to be because of his returning skills. This guy was a catastrophe of a returner, and it was absolutely unbelievable how many chances he got from last year’s coaching staff. The “Isaiah McKenzie returner experiment” needs to be over from this point forward for the Broncos.
Jordan Taylor - 4
Call me crazy, but I really liked Taylor’s return work at the tail end of last year. He was absolutely solid at knowing when to fair catch (and actually catching the ball, AMARITE McKenzie!?). He also showed skill in gaining yards when the opportunity was there.
Devontae Booker - 2
Booker was one of our kickoff returners in 2017. I saw nothing special at all from him other than, unlike Cody Latimer, he was sharp enough to keep the ball in the end zone when it was kicked that far the vast majority of the time.
Overview - 3
Denver doesn’t have weapons in the return game really, but at this point I think most of us are just looking for average capability from our special teams as that would be a marked improvement. Most of that can be accomplished by solid coaching and the drafting of competent young NFL athletes.
Roster status overall:
Defensive Ends 4
Nose Tackles 4
Outside Linebackers 3
Inside Linebackers 2
Cornerbacks 5 / 3