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Broncos Receivers: If It’s Not Broke…

Michael Griffin #33 of the Tennessee Titans loses his helmet as he tackles Brandon Lloyd #84 of the Denver Broncos at LP Field on October 3, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. Denver won 26-20. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

With the 2010 season behind us, and the NFL draft quickly approaching, there are a myriad of positions the Broncos can address.  Most of those fall on the defensive side of the ball.  One position that is not in need of an upgrade is wide receiver.

At the beginning of the 2010 season, the Broncos viewed their wide receiver corps as one of the deepest positions on the team.  This was in spite of the fact that Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall was traded to the Miami Dolphins.  Following the 2010 season, we can confirm that assertion was correct.

With an already solid group of receivers, the Broncos looked to compensate for the loss of Brandon Marshall by drafting Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker in the 2010 NFL Draft.  Thomas, though he battled injuries throughout the season, was able to contribute admirably to the team on both offense and special teams, while showing flashes of becoming a great receiver.  Decker came on at the end of the season, posting the second highest yards per reception on the team, while also becoming a contributor in the kicking game, leading the team in yards per return.  Both players look to be healthy and contribute in a big way in 2011.

Along with the infusion of youth, the Broncos were confident that their veteran leadership amongst the wide receivers would play an important role in 2010.  Needless to say, they did not disappoint.

Jabar Gaffney not only had his best year as a Bronco, but also of his career.  Gaffney finished second on the team in both receptions and yards.  Eddie Royal also had a solid season, finishing third on the team in both receptions and yards, while bouncing back from a disappointing 2009 season.  It is clear that Gaffney and Royal had an impact on the Broncos this season and next year we should look for more of the same.

Each Broncos receiver contributed to the team in some capacity, but there was no denying who the star of the show was.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the season came by way of 8th year wide receiver Brandon Lloyd.  He was not only the most valuable player amongst the receivers, but perhaps the entire team.  Lloyd had a career year, pulling in 77 catches for 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns. When all was said and done, Lloyd finished the season as the NFL’s leading receiver.  As amazing as those numbers are, what is almost more astonishing was his gaudy first down percentage. Lloyd earned a first down on 72 of the 77 catches he made this season (93.7%).  Moving the chains is an invaluable ability in the NFL and Lloyd should be a major part of the Broncos game plans next year.

With the contributions of the many talented players on the Broncos roster, they were able to finish 6th in the NFL in receiving, averaging 269.2 receiving yards per game.  They also posted the second highest first down percentage (61.1%) and had the third most plays over 40 yards (14).  A renewed emphysis on the run game should only help to make an already dangerous air game that much more potent.

With the conclusion of a disappointing season record wise, it is vital to dissect what is wrong with the team, but it is equally important to find out what went right.

With so much depth at the wide receiver position, one could speculate that the Broncos might move one or more of those player in order to pick up extra draft picks or a player at a position of need.  With a new season, a new coach, and a rebuilding project on the defensive side of the ball, uncertainty abounds.  But even so, there are some certainties.  No matter who is in the stable for the Broncos in 2011, the horsemen that they choose to field at wide receiver will be amongst the leagues best, and I doubt we will be hearing a wide receivers name being called for the Denver Broncos come draft day.

If this article only wet your appetite for highlights of the Denver Broncos 2010 passing attack, not to worry.  The Denver Broncos staff was nice enough to put together a compilation. Enjoy.

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Topics: Brandon Lloyd, Brandon Marshall, Broncos, Demaryius Thomas, Eddie Royal, Eric Decker, Jabar Gaffney, NFL, Wide Receivers

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  • Chris Krier

    Great article. It is interesting how our receivers were the strength of the team in 2010 even after the BMarsh trade. This is proof that the cupboard is not bare. If we can upgrade at some key positions on defense and really hit on a few of our draft picks, better times could be just ahead.

  • TheFan

    I would like to entertain the idea of trading Jabar Gaffney, don’t know if teams want him but its food for thought. He is just like Kyle Orton, both are veterans and had the best numbers of their careers, except Gaffney is on the receiving end. Both are stable and for the most part reliable. I would like to see more of our younger players (Thomas, Decker, Willis) get more experience and develop into play makers on the field and that simply can’t be done with journeyman starter Gaffney in place.

  • DOC

    I’d definitely like to see more of D-Thomas, and if that means that Gaffney finds a new team so be it. We also need to see more from this offense on 3rd down. The execution was poor this year and this will surely be a point Fox has to address.