The Denver Broncos had one of the more entertaining 8-8 seasons that I have ever seen, one that included a bunch of comebacks and some quarterback named Tim Tebow. Not to mention, the Broncos sent Willis McGahee to the Pro Bowl, and drafted the defensive rookie of the year, linebacker Von Miller.
They also shocked the world by not only winning the AFC West but beating the reigning AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the playoffs. Here are areas the Broncos need to improve upon in the 2012 offseason.
1. Defensive Tackle
The Broncos have Brodrick Bunkley to make a priority this offseason, as he was the run-stuffing DT this team has been craving for years. Bunkley isn’t a great pass rusher, though, and the Broncos could really use a guy who can help collapse the pocket and allow Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller to make plays on the edges. Many believe this will be the direction they turn with their first round pick.
2. Running Back
Knowshon Moreno ended the year on injured reserve, and though Willis McGahee made the Pro Bowl, he is 30 and has a history of injuries including some missed time in 2011. The Broncos’ primary reserves are Lance Ball and Jeremiah Johnson. An upgrade at RB could come via free agency and/or the draft.
Andre Goodman and Champ Bailey are both in their 30s, and while they aren’t considerably regressing, neither is forcing many turnovers. Champ Bailey is still a shut down caliber guy, but the Broncos need to start thinking about the future at the position, and Champ Bailey’s impending move to safety. Drafting a corner is a real possibility, as is picking up a guy in free agency.
4. Wide Receiver
The Broncos have Demaryius Thomas, who appears to be a really good receiver. They also have Eric Decker, who showed throughout the year that he can make plays. Both guys, however, struggled with drops, and aside from them, the Broncos don’t have any reliable receivers. Eddie Royal is a free agent, and Matt Willis had a pretty bad year after showing signs of improvement in 2010.
5. Middle Linebacker/Safety
The Broncos have some young guys at both positions, but the offseason will be telling as to how much confidence the organization has in them. Nate Irving (ILB) barely played but that was largely because of the lockout and his not being able to get any work in with the coaching staff. Rahim Moore (S) was benched and struggled with injuries throughout the season. Quinton Carter also had a couple of nice plays in the playoffs, and he looks like he could contribute at safety.