NEEDS RATING KEY
5.0 - High priority. This is a position that is a glaring weakness and there is the likelihood that this team cannot compete next year without making a major addition here.
4.0 - Medium Priority. This is an area that is an obvious weakness, but the team isn't quite desperate to make a major move here possibly because they have some young potential. But this is an area that if the team cannot fix via free agency, will definitely use one of their picks in the first three or four rounds to supplement.
3.0 - Upgrade Potential. This is a position that isn't a weakness per se, but there is significant room for an upgrade. If the right player comes along they will certainly snag him, but if they don't fix this position with a major free agent addition or early round pick, then it's not the end of the world.
2.0 - Depth Need. An area where there is a need to add depth. Perhaps there is an aging veteran and they might want to start to look at grooming his heir apparent or replacement. Not likely to be a high priority and a position that more than likely will be address in the middle and late rounds rather than with a top pick.
1.0 - Future Need. This is an area that is not a priority, and doesn't initially appear as a need. But there is some room to develop some depth for perhaps two or more years down the line. This is usually an area that a team will look at in the late rounds if at all.
0.0 - Non-need. This is a position that is a strength of their team, they have a solid starter, capable depth, and/or a young player at the position that they like and want to develop. Very little possibility this area is addressed and would be the equivalent of a wasted draft pick.
Top 7 Needs
1. CB - 4.0
2. DT - 4.0
3. LB - 3.0
4. RB - 3.0
5. DE - 3.0
6. OG - 3.0
7. S - 3.0
Position by Position Breakdown
Quarterback - The retention of OC Mike McCoy probably means there aren't going to be a ton of changes here. They could move Orton in the off-season for the right price, but more than likely all three guys: Orton, Tebow, and Quinn will be back. They will certianly look at more options, but given the investments they've made in all three players over the past year, they aren't likely to scrap anything. NEED: 1.5
Running Back - Expect John Fox to bring in another back that can bring the much more physical run-first offense he is looking for. Moreno had some moments this year, but he's yet to emerge as a guy that should be carrying the load. A trade for a player like DeAngelo Williams makes sense, but they will be on the lookout for help here. NEED: 3.0
Fullback - Larsen can be a nice stopgap option as a lead blocker, but expect with Fox coming here, they will probably look to add a more traditional option here to push him. NEED: 1.5
Wide Receiver - Many were skeptical of the team's decision to dump Brandon Marshall this off-season (including myself), but Brandon Lloyd has put together a Pro Bowl-caliber season. The issue with Lloyd going forward is whether he is a one-year wonder, as he's shined in past years in San Francisco, but never was able to show the consistency to be a reliable starting option. But even with a dip, the Broncos have some insurance with No. 1 pick Demaryius Thomas, who had a promising start this season before injuries sidetracked him somewhat. Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal both are ideally suited for the No. 3 role, but it gives the Broncos options in the passing game, that coupled with Eric Decker means they shouldn't be hurting in the passing game even if Lloyd drops off. They could add some depth here, but more than likely it'll be a middle or late round talent. NEED: 1.0
Tight End - Daniel Graham is a solid blocker that fit well in the McDaniels offense that preferred blocking over receiving potential. But the new offense could want a more dynamic option in the passing game, which they do not have on the roster. NEED: 2.0
Offensive Tackle - With the likely new emphasis on running the ball, the team will probably want to get a bigger, stronger player than Ryan Harris at right tackle. They'll likely bring in a road grader to add depth and help bolster competition there. NEED: 2.5
Offensive Guard - Zane Beadles has manned the starting left guard for most of the year as a rookie, but hasn't been overly impressive. The new coaching staff might see him more as a versatile utility backup than a starter. On the right side, Chris Kuper isn't a star, but he's an above average starter that probably isn't the chief concern of any new staff. Any new additions are probably more likely to be veterans than more rookies. NEED: 3.0
Center - J.D. Walton hasn't had a stellar rookie season and he'll likely be pushed potentially by Beadles, Eric Olsen, or Russ Hochstein next year. The new staff might want to bring in a veteran as well to get in the mix, but another rookie doesn't seem like it's in the cards. NEED: 1.0
Defensive Tackle - With them likely going to more of a 4-3 look, they will look to make a major addition here. Jamal Williams proabbly won't be back since he's not a great fit. Marcus Thomas is a nice fit and Justin Bannan can also contribute in a rotation, but they will look for a disruptive presence to really complete this spot. NEED: 4.0
Defensive End - The healthy return of Elvis Dumervil will solve their major issues here even with the move to the 4-3. But right now, Jason Hunter is the only potential 4-3 defensive end on the roster. If they keep with the 3-4, McBean, Bannan, and Vickerson are a decent group of starters, but again it's a group that could use an infusion of young talent. They could tinker with Ayers moving to this spot. NEED: 3.0
Linebacker - Robert Ayers could be labeled a disappointment, and unless he really impresses them in off-season workouts, he could be on the way out. With the move to the 4-3, D.J. Williams is the only play that is a good fit, but there is talk he could be traded. Between Haggan and Joe Mays, they could probably be OK at the other two spots, and Ayers could also be in the mix. They'll add some bodies here, particularly targeting a guy in the middle that they could build around. NEED: 3.0
Cornerback - Champ Bailey is going to be a free agent after the season, and while I'm sure they would welcome him back with open arms, they probably aren't going to bend over backwards to pay a soon-to-be 32-year old corner that has battled injuries and hasn't had more than 3 picks in four seasons. With their top pick, they would be in a good position to snag one of the premier corners. Perrish Cox has shined at times on the opposite side of the field for him, and it's likely a youth movement will be in place next season. NEED: 4.0
Safety - When the team signed Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill they thought they were getting a steady veteran presence. And they got that for the most part in 2009 and had the idea that they could develop reserves Darcel McBath and David Bruton as their respective heir apparents. But with Dawkins missing several games to injury this year, neither youngster has really shined in his absence, which likely means the team will go back to the drawing board in the draft to find a young guy to develop as a future starter. NEED: 3.0
Kicker - Prater has put together a solid year, and has improved each year since joining the Broncos three years ago. He has the sort of big leg that can work in the altitude in Denver. His contract runs out at the end of the year, and while the team may not commit long-term to him, they should be little fear they'll keep him for at least one more year. NEED: 0.0
Punter - Britton Colquitt has been a pleasant surprise for the Broncos, winning the battle in training camp. He's still young, but there is little reason to doubt that he won't be a Bronco for several years more. NEED: 0.0
The year's upcoming draft and the college game can be discussed here.
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