Let me tell you, writing about the Broncos is a whole heck of a lot more fun after a victory, so don’t let this post come off as a bucket of water on your week. Instead, consider it simply pondering something I’ve been wondering as I’ve looked at Mock Drafts and watched college football - what positions do the Broncos most need to address to chase a playoff berth in 2020?
I looked at the two most obvious ones at length a little over a week ago, and also talked about the state of the roster a few weeks ago, so today I wanted to do something a little different. I thought it’d be wise to ask both Jeff Essary and Joe Mahoney to get their perspectives. Our discussion has been lightly edited for clarity.
What is the one position Elway HAS to address this spring?
Jeff: Gotta be corner if Chris Harris Jr. isn’t brought back. Or even if he is. If Callahan is healthy and Bausby comes back that helps, but think they’ve gotta draft one.
JoRo: I’m studying up on Davontae Harris this week so my opinion could change a bit after the Browns tape comes out. However, assuming the Broncos wise up and re-sign Chris Harris Jr., I’d say I’m torn between a real war daddy defensive lineman, a three-down linebacker, or a slot corner, especially if Bryce Callahan’s health questions don’t clear up and Will Parks isn’t retained. Duke Dawson has performed admirably and could yet steal this job for the long term, but I have questions.
As far as linebacker, both Todd Davis and especially Alexander Johnson have done their part against the run. Both also look competent more often than not against the pass. I just wonder if the middle of the defense will always be a huge Achilles heel against teams like the Chiefs and Colts if a true coverage star isn’t added to the second level. Crossers were a big part of the opponent’s attacks in both games.
How pressing would you say it is, if we graded the need by 1st round/splash free agent type of need to Day 3/need veteran depth?
Jeff: 1st round, in my opinion. That or interior O-line, which is Day 2 pick, I’d say. You have some flexibility potentially with McGovern playing either Center or Guard, so you could draft either one and slide him.
JoRo: I still need to really grind film on prospects coming out, but all reports suggest this upcoming linebacker class is weak. Kenneth Murray and Isaiah Simmons are two guys who fit the mold I’m talking about, but both will be top 50 picks. Not sure Elway can afford to spend that kind of capital at the position, given the two obvious needs.
As far as slot or even corner, I trust Fangio and Donatell to develop what’s there to maximize it.
You’d say definitely re-sign McGovern?
Jeff: Yeah, I’d bring back McGovern. You can’t afford to go another year with complete reshuffling and no continuity on the offensive line. Plus he’s been solid.
JoRo: I still wonder if McGovern’s best fit is at guard, but regardless I’d love to have him back if it doesn’t break the bank. His mobility and leadership have a lot of value on the Broncos’ young offense.
How would you feel if McGovern is brought back, Wilkinson is moved inside and that’s the interior in 2020?
Jeff: If James is healthy, I’m down with that for the interior.
JoRo: I wouldn’t hate it. My one argument against the interior offensive line is a theory I’ve had for a while now. I wonder if the difference between an elite line and a good one isn’t so big that it’s worth the opportunity cost elsewhere.
Joe: McGovern has been solid enough to bring back as long as we get a hometown discount. He’s not so valuable that he can’t be replaced with a much cheaper option if he asked for/wants big money.
Paradis got contract averaging $9 million a year as a free agent and he has bad hips. I do want to keep as much continuity as possible on the offensive line. Another year of four (or 3.5) new starters on the line is not a good thing. I want as much continuity in the line as possible - with Bolles playing for some other team, of course.
Remember the starting line in game 16 of 2018 was Bolles-Turner-McGovern-WIlkinson-Veldheer.
Joe, would you say the inerior OL is the biggest need facing the Broncos after QB/LT?
If not, what is?
I like that fact that Fangio and Dontell have made chicken salad out of chicken shit at CB this season, but I don’t know how sustainable that is. Getting production out of D. Harris, Bausby and Dawson is almost as impressive as knowing when to sit Yiadom. If C. Harris walks, we’ll be in the same boat next season of trying to make salad from shit.
How big a need is that in your opinion?
Joe: I think we can find value at CB in the mid-rounds given our coaching staff has now demonstrated the ability to teach cornerbacks to perform in this system (if they are teachable - Isaac Yiadom apparently is not). I’d say priority in draft for me as of right now is QB (unless Lock wows us in his three game audition), LT, CB, IOL. I think Munchak might have a project player he is working on who will surprise next season at either guard or tackle. I hope that this is the case as I desperately want us to find the next Alejandro Villanueva.
For what it’s worth, the low end contract for a starting center averages $7-8 million a year.
What do you think?
Outside QB/LT, what is the Broncos’ biggest 2020 need?
This poll is closed
Cornerback. Let’s make a gourmet sandwich!
Interior Offensive line. Give the young QB a Denver Wall.
Linebacker. We should have grabbed Devin Bush!
Receiver. Give Sutton an elite running mate!
Defensive Line: Where’s the beef?!
Other: please comment.
Your Broncos Links
New blood under-center reinvigorated the Denver Broncos.
Joe Flacco ain’t it, but Brandon Allen was able to maximize the talents around him for the win.
Despite what you may have read or heard, Flacco can be easily moved by Denver and his restructure didn’t add any additional cap burden onto Denver.
In case the textual explanation may be confusing, here's a visual representation of what changes (or lack thereof) happened to the Broncos' cap with the Joe Flacco restructure.— Nick Korte (@nickkorte) November 4, 2019
Notice that the combined green bars (cap space) are equal, as are Flacco's combined cap charges. pic.twitter.com/JeG8ZzqTkE
The Broncos played a complete game and found a way to close one out on Sunday.
The Denver Broncos score more than 20 and start off the second half of the season 1-0 with a 24-19 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
Congrats to every Allen out there: Today was your Super Bowl, and you won.
Courtland Sutton’s touchdown reception is definitely a point in favor of the play being prettier than the uniforms. Spectacular leaping grab over Denzel Ward, who appeared to have very good coverage.
“In my head, I was thinking, ‘Please don’t keep it; please don’t keep it,’” Simmons said, “because as the outside blitzer, I’m the only contain guy, so I just put all my chips on the line and said, ‘He’s handing it off to Chubb,’ and I was right.”
Superstar pass rushers like Von or Watt:— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 4, 2019
"They are capable of erasing about five plays from a defense’s ledger. They aren’t going to win every down. They can be double-teamed. They mean a ton in the aggregate, but on a down-to-down basis they matter a lot less." @riversmccown https://t.co/pdMfieWXma
NFL Draft Links
Broncos Grant Delpit S, LSU
So Justin Simmons — absolute baller, right? And that’s a big deal for Denver, who has developed the promising player nicely in his years out from Boston College. For those of us who liked him coming out — *ahem* — we’re excited to see him grow into an impact starter in Fangio’s defense. But when Vic was suffocating offenses in Chicago last year, it was with the help of two great safeties: Eddie Jackson and Adrian Amos. But in Denver, ex-slot corner Kareem Jackson is playing safety, which isn’t exactly ideal, even if Jackson is acquitting himself well. Adding Delpit allows Jackson to move back down to his more natural cover role over the slot, especially in the event that Chris Harris departs in free agency. Delpit also has that tremendous run and hit ability that illustrates a potential Top-10 selection and certainly will appeal to Fangio’s “DBs must tackle” mantra.
2020 NFL Mock Draft: Matt Miller’s Post-Trade Deadline Predictions | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights
The Pick: OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa The Denver Broncos have a glaring question mark at quarterback with 2019 second-rounder Drew Lock on IR to start the season and veteran Joe Flacco clearly not the answer. But short of Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes behind the Broncos’ terrible offensive line, no young quarterback could single-handedly solve this team’s offensive woes. Because of that, the Broncos should go all-in on improving the offensive line this offseason. They started doing so last offseason by signing free agent Ja’Wuan James and drafting guard Dalton Risner, but they still need more help. Enter Tristan Wirfs. A right tackle at Iowa, NFL scouts and this writer believe he can hang at left tackle in the NFL thanks to his quickness off the snap and his power as a finisher. Wirfs has been tested by NFL-caliber pass rushers on the right side of the Hawkeyes’ offensive line in the Big Ten and has proved his ability to play highly at the next level.
Herbert's ability as a runner gets overshadowed by his arm, but it may be his biggest weapon as someone who doesn't necessarily work well throwing off-script.— Dalton Miller (@DaltonBMiller) November 3, 2019
Projecting Herbert is becoming trickier as time passes, but he's still a phenomenal physical talent. pic.twitter.com/Uw99P2U7hz
The NFL’s second tier of teams includes nine clubs with winning records, but only three of them have a real chance at lifting the Lombardi.
Suddenly, the Patriots appear mortal while Baltimore has the look of an AFC contender. What’s even more impressive about the team’s 37-20 win over New England is that they did it the exact way they’ve beaten everyone all season.
“It starts with Lamar and the offense and the running game,” Thomas said. “Us on defense, we just try to give the ball back to them and create more stops and let the MVP do his thing,” Thomas said.
I wish we played better when ‘the Chargers are the favorite.’ Like, golly, you look back and if we just got Tennessee or we just got Detroit or Houston, just one of them, then you go, ‘Man, we’re sitting in good position.’ We still have a ways to go and a lot is gonna happen in these next two. . . . We’ll see where we are with only five to play after these next two.”
With Oakland reaching the season’s halfway point, let’s take a look at how the rookies have performed!
The Raiders are treating Marshall like a yo-yo.
Next year, when the Dolphins will ostensibly be trying to win, their home fans will have one fewer chance to see them. According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins will be giving up a home game in 2020 to be a part of the league’s international series of games.
“Like I said, I can’t be more prouder of our guys. To have the injuries that we had at the last second and then to go out there and take this time to overtime, and that’s a hell of a football team, I think that speaks volumes about our guys. A play or two, we’re just a play or two and than we win last week, we win this week. We had six rookies on defense a couple snaps and its like, they’re holding their own.”