Denver Broncos: How far away are they from winning the Super Bowl?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 03: Detailed view of the Denver Broncos championship ring from Super Bowl XXXIII during the NFL Experience exhibition before Super Bowl 50 at the Moscone Center on February 3, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 03: Detailed view of the Denver Broncos championship ring from Super Bowl XXXIII during the NFL Experience exhibition before Super Bowl 50 at the Moscone Center on February 3, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

How far are the Denver Broncos from winning another Super Bowl?

Winning in the NFL is not easy and winning the Super Bowl is exponentially harder. The Denver Broncos are a top 10 winning franchise and are one of the few teams to have won the NFL championship in back-to-back years (1998/99).

So, how does this team get back to winning after four down seasons, especially when the reigning Super Bowl champions are in their same division?

The gap between the top tier teams in the AFC appears significant (Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs), but is it?

Most teams begin the season believing they can win the Super Bowl but most are not consistent contenders for the Lombardi Trophy.

Super Bowl models

Every team builds its roster based on a successful model. It happens in all areas of business. From Google to Amazon, everyone uses a successful template to build their organization around.

John Elway seems to be using the Chiefs and Ravens to form a roster he believes will compete from here on out.

Taking the Chiefs, for example, they drafted a raw but talented quarterback in Patrick Mahomes with talented playmakers already in the building. Travis Kelce was already an established player in the league and is a dominant mismatch at the tight end position. Tyreek Hill presents a mismatch with his speed while Sammy Watkins provides a solid backside option.

The Chiefs continued to build their line and suffered through the growing pains of underwhelming play from a first-round left tackle.

The Broncos have worked to match that approach with Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, and Noah Fant.

The Ravens also built around a young and talented quarterback in MVP Lamar Jackson and a top tier defense.

Though Pat Shurmur comes from the Andy Reid tree, I believe the Broncos are building a team in the same fashion as the Baltimore Ravens.

The Broncos have emphasized defense with premium cap dollars being spent on defensive talent.

Like the Ravens, the Broncos have spent significantly more cap dollars on veteran defenders.

The Ravens brought in stud Calais Campbell for a late-round pick. The Broncos matched that move, bringing in perennial pro-bowl defender Jurrell Casey.

Baltimore and the Broncos have built their offense with speed and playmakers through the draft the last several seasons to build around young quarterbacks on rookie deals.

What do the Broncos have left to do to compete for the Super Bowl?

Currently, the Chiefs and Ravens sit atop Vegas odds as Super Bowl favorites.

So, how far are the Broncos then?

Denver stacks up to the Ravens and Chiefs in a variety of aspects. Neither the Chiefs nor Ravens have a clear advantage over the Broncos defense. Though the Ravens should be primed to be better, I do not believe it will be by much.

The single difference between the two teams is the emergence both Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes made in year two.

Thus, it all lands on the shoulders of number 3. Drew Lock is the lynchpin.

If he steps up and plays up to his potential the Broncos will quickly jump to contender status.

The Ravens and Chiefs are good teams, but without their triggermen at the helm, they are middle of the pack, to say the least.

However, when both Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson took over, MVP caliber play was not expected.

Each player was looked at as a project, with immense talent each team hoped to foster.

The solution to the Broncos’ lack of winning is as simple as finding “the guy”.

Though pieces around the quarterback are imperative to overall success, having a top tier quarterback puts your team in the conversation every year.

Like the two guys leading the organizations the Broncos are chasing, Drew Lock has the physical and mental make-up to be a guy who can carry a team.

Lock is a different player than Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, but he has special talent nonetheless.

Lock has top-flight arm talent and an ability to lead a group of men from the moment he hit the locker room.

The question all of Broncos Country wants to know is, how long could it take for him to prove it one way or another?

Lock has the pieces to be successful, and now it is time for him to show it.

He has shown out his talent in a variety of spots throughout his time in Denver but has also shown his need to become more consistent.

Lock’s first training camp as a starter has shown one thing – an ability to learn from his mistakes and continue to improve. He will continue to grow and the confidence in his projection is warranted, in my opinion.

With the development he has shown and for the Broncos to become championship contenders, he needs to before his rookie deal is up.

The Broncos will need to know if Lock can be the guy to build around, or if another plan has to put in place.

I suspect he will be the guy, and the Broncos will be knocking on the doorstep to Super Bowl by 2021.

The Broncos will absolutely be a team to reckon with 2020. This team is a dark-horse playoff team with championship aspirations and will show it this season.

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In 2021, the Broncos will enter a prime window to compete for Super-Bowls for the foreseeable future.