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Could the 2021 Broncos replicate the 2020 Bucs?

The similarities are there. The talent is real. There is just one missing piece to the puzzle.

The Denver Broncos could be the 2021 version of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

When Ian St. Clair and I sat down to record the MHR Radio Podcast, this was a topic that I could not get out of my head. I had seen it tweeted (and now I can’t find the tweet, so forgive me for not linking it). I had heard it said on multiple occasions. Or, maybe I manifested it.

Truthfully, I think most of us are thinking something similar. If you are reading this (and clearly you are), you probably look at the Broncos roster and are blown away at the amount of talent in Denver. Even Pro Football Focus ranked the Broncos roster in the NFL’s top-10.

I do always chuckle at that a little. Top-10 in a 32-team league is just barely the top third, but it still says a lot about where the Broncos are.

Just on defense, there is no doubt Denver is going to be one of the toughest opponents on any team’s schedule. The secondary only got better this offseason. The addition of Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller to go along with Bryce Callahan. The drafting of Patrick Surtain II, and the growth of players like Michael Ojemudia. I’d hate to be an offensive coordinator facing that. Throw Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson in the mix as one of the top safety tandems in the game, and there is no doubt about how good this unit will be.

Von Miller and Bradley Chubb will be able to finally get a season together. Shelby Harris, Dre’Mont Jones, McTelvin Agim, and others will make the D-Line more than a little stout. With Mike Purcell plugging up the middle, this should be a tough defense to overcome.

The linebackers may not be top tier, but Alexander Johnson and Josey Jewel are capable.

I don’t want this to turn into a whole roster review, but the defense is stacked, and the offense has the talent to match. With Courtland Sutton back, and Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler in year two, the WR group is scary. Now throw Tim Patrick in the mix. Nice.

Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams at RB, running behind a solid offensive line, anchored by Garett Bolles? Sign me up.

If you look at the 2019 Bucs, and you are honest, they were missing one thing. It was the right QB. When Tom Brady arrived in Tampa, that changed. All that talent on offense, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, became better. The defense kept improving. They went from being tough to beat, to being a Super Bowl champion.

It took one last ingredient. Denver, with the talent they have in all aspects of the game, remind me of Tampa. The Broncos have one more ingredient to add, and it could make all the difference in the world. Whether that player is on the roster now, or still out there, everyone knows what is needed.

Without it, it would be hard to imagine the Broncos going anywhere in 2021.