The Denver Broncos addressed plenty of roster issues during this offseason. The nabbed a right tackle and two defensive backs in free agency, while drafting likely starters at tight end and offensive guard in the 2019 NFL Draft.
However, there was one position that ended up going unaddressed despite being one of the teams top needs since the season ended. That position being at inside linebacker.
Football Outsiders went through each teams roster to find the biggest roster hole for each. Predictably, they came to the same conclusion as many of the rest of us when it came to the Broncos biggest hole.
Denver Broncos: Inside linebacker
New head coach Vic Fangio’s successful defenses have nearly always relied on a pair of quality inside linebackers -- think Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith in Chicago, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman in San Francisco, Ray Lewis and Bart Scott in Baltimore or even the vaunted Dome Patrol of the Saints in the 1980s and ‘90s. Premium talent in the center of the defense is what makes Fangio’s style work; it’s the foundation around which everything else is built. With that in mind, Denver was often linked to Devin White and Devin Bush in the pre-draft process, as Fangio places his stamp on Denver’s D.
Instead, Denver handled other needs: a pass-catching tight end in Noah Fant, vital interior offensive line help in Dalton Risner, a potential quarterback of the future in Drew Lock. These are all fine, justifiable picks, but they leave the Broncos likely starting veteran Todd Davis and 2018 fourth-round pick Josey Jewell at inside linebacker. Davis and Jewell don’t exactly fit in with the quality of player Fangio has usually employed to run his defenses, and there’s little depth behind them.
While Todd Davis is likely to continue being the top guy inside, the concerns come more from Josey Jewell. He didn’t quite live up to the hype last season and could end up being the weak link on the Broncos defense this season.
Long term, the franchise needs to fine an every down kind of player to play at inside linebacker in every situation. Right now, they have guys who are mostly seen as two down types. It will be interesting to see how Vic Fangio and his staff scheme around the obvious weaknesses at this position this year.
Would you agree that inside linebacker is the Broncos biggest roster hole right now?