Denver Broncos Offseason Top Areas Of Need

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The offseason is drawing near, and with the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine next week, the Denver Broncos will be making preparations to make a run at the Super Bowl and dethrone the New England Patriots.

That all starts with building the roster in March, and all the scouting and planning that goes into it up until that point. Despite being one of the best rosters in the NFL, well constructed from top to bottom with plenty of financial wiggle room, the Broncos have quite a few significant needs.

I think with some of the players who are set to depart in free agency, the Broncos will have the opportunity to not only make some significant changes but in the process, upgrade. Let’s take a look at the Broncos’ depth chart, how they can upgrade this offseason, and what positions will be the focal point. (**Players in red are free agents)

Offense Top Needs

1. Right Tackle

The Broncos are going to move Louis Vasquez back to his natural right guard position, where he was an All-Pro two years ago, and rightfully so. They have second-year player Michael Schofield waiting but he didn’t play a single snap of offense this past season and the Broncos (at least, the fans) don’t know what we have there.

With Orlando Franklin, who started the first three years of his career at right tackle, a free agent, the Broncos have a significant need there with virtually no one to legitimately fill the void.

We took a look at the top options at right tackle in free agency (as far as only unrestricted free agents) and the list isn’t overly deep but there are players on there that could step in and start for the Broncos right away, and excel. We also took a look at the top player on the market in Green Bay’s Bryan Bulaga, who would be the dream addition for the Broncos at this point. If the Broncos can land a big fish on these lists, they’ll be in good shape.

We haven’t even yet explored options of players who could be cap casualties on their current teams, and right now the premiere target to keep an eye out for is Jake Long of St. Louis. The oft-injured, former No. 1 overall pick came into the NFL the same year as Ryan Clady, and if both players could get healthy in the same year on the same team, it would be something to behold. He could come at a nice price as well.

2. Tight End

As you can see on the depth chart pictured above, the Broncos have a desperate need at the tight end position. Julius Thomas, Jacob Tamme, and Virgil Green are all free agents.  Thomas gets ALL the attention, but Virgil Green might have been a more important player this past year over the grand scheme of things.

We haven’t explored all top tight end options for the Broncos, but to connect some dots here, the obvious free agent fit for Denver is Owen Daniels, who has played every single year of his NFL career under now Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak. The stars are aligned for Daniels to come to Denver (if the price is right, which it ought be) and possibly see both Virgil Green and Jacob  Tamme return along with the addition of a rookie at the position.

The ideal scenario here is to re-sign Green and Tamme (Manning’s buddy) as well as sign Owen Daniels (sneaky great player when healthy) and draft someone with upside, letting Julius Thomas walk for the ridiculous money he covets.

3. Center/Guard

The Broncos need to re-sign Will Montgomery, who played well this past year if they can’t snag one of the top free agent centers on the market. This isn’t the highest priority position but it’s a pretty glaring need.

Rodney Hudson is the best center on the market, and he’s young. Also young and a good player is Oakland’s Stefen Wisniewski. Both players are free agents and legitimate options for the Broncos. Hudson is reportedly seeking in excess of $6 million per season, which is probably out of the Broncos’ price range.

The Broncos have to decide whether they want to draft a guard and sign a center or vice versa. I think they could get by with a new starter via the draft at either position, but there are also young players who are waiting for a shot. Matt Paradis was a sixth round pick in 2014 that spent last year on the practice squad.

If the Broncos end up having to re-sign Montgomery to save some money here and draft a center, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

The key here is whether or not to re-sign Orlando Franklin, and if he plays tackle or guard. If they re-sign him to play tackle, they should look to some of the top guards on the market. We haven’t looked at all the top guards out there yet, but Clint Boling and Mike Iupati have been mentioned as options.

Next: Defense: Top Needs