Denver Broncos players who need to step up in 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 07: Courtland Sutton #14 of the Denver Broncos celebrates with his teammates after scoring an 8 yard touchdown against the New York Jets during the first quarter in the game at MetLife Stadium on October 07, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 07: Courtland Sutton #14 of the Denver Broncos celebrates with his teammates after scoring an 8 yard touchdown against the New York Jets during the first quarter in the game at MetLife Stadium on October 07, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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GLENDALE, AZ – OCTOBER 18: Wide receiver Courtland Sutton #14 of the Denver Broncos reacts after scoring a 28-yard touchdown during the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on October 18, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos are a couple of breakout seasons away from having a playoff-caliber roster. Which guys need to step up the most in 2019?

Are the Denver Broncos a playoff caliber team?

Depending on how optimistic you are, the Broncos were a couple of inches away from being either 4-12 or 10-6 in 2018 despite a ton of critical injuries and some untimely miscues.

Missed opportunities at the end of their home game against the Kansas City Chiefs cost an early-season divisional win against arguably the best team in football last year.

A missed field goal cost them a win against one of the NFL’s hottest teams in Houston.

They were within one score of the NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams, upstart Cleveland Browns led by hotshot rookie Baker Mayfield, and lost a critical road game to the lowly San Francisco 49ers.

Death by inches, indeed.

It’s not a coincidence that Vic Fangio emphasized the small details at his introductory press conference. Small missed opportunities throughout the season were the difference between the Broncos being a six-win team drafting in the top 10 and a nine-win team vying for a wild-card playoff spot.

Small differences can be fixed through proper coaching and preparation as well as development for certain players. The Broncos in 2019 are not going to be the same exact Broncos we saw in 2018.

Players will take steps forward. The new scheme will be a better fit for certain guys than others. And this year is a ‘contract year’ for some guys, whether it’s the last year of their deal or not.

The Broncos need some guys to step up in 2019, and I’ve pegged one at each position who could end up being the difference between death by inches and people talking about the Broncos come late December/January.