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What will be the Broncos’ biggest 2020 need?

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Looking beyond quarterback and left tackle, what’s holding the roster back?

Cleveland Browns v Denver Broncos
Can Elway patch up the roster this spring?
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

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?

Joe: CB.

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?

Poll

Outside QB/LT, what is the Broncos’ biggest 2020 need?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Cornerback. Let’s make a gourmet sandwich!
    (180 votes)
  • 56%
    Interior Offensive line. Give the young QB a Denver Wall.
    (703 votes)
  • 7%
    Linebacker. We should have grabbed Devin Bush!
    (92 votes)
  • 8%
    Receiver. Give Sutton an elite running mate!
    (101 votes)
  • 9%
    Defensive Line: Where’s the beef?!
    (113 votes)
  • 4%
    Other: please comment.
    (58 votes)
1247 votes total Vote Now

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