The Denver Broncos are coming off of a season in which the team was decimated by injuries, fired its coach the day after Christmas, and once again finished last place in the AFC West. They were a win or two by the New York Jets away from having the single longest playoff drought currently in the NFL. It feels odd, then, to say that the Broncos have a pretty good-looking roster going into the 2023 season, doesn't it?
New league years come with renewed optimism, of course. Every NFL team is going to experience its own version of ups and downs throughout the 2023 season, but the question right now regarding the Denver Broncos is seemingly less about the roster and more about how everything is going to come together in year one of the Sean Payton era.
No head coach has ever won a Super Bowl with two different teams (as the team's head coach), but no quarterback had won the Super Bowl with two different teams until Peyton Manning won Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos, either. Sean Payton is not just out to change the culture in Denver, he was brought in with 15 years of getting the best out of every level of player -- undrafted guys to future Hall of Famers.
With the context of Sean Payton, I don't think it can be overstated just how improved we should expect the Denver Broncos to be in 2023. It's fair to temper expectations based on results in recent years for the team, of course, but I think it's a disservice to the level of coaching that Sean Payton brings to the table to expect this Broncos team to be an embarrassment or even a "losing" team in 2023.
Sean Payton inherited a roster that was already two years in progress of being "rebuilt" or "reloaded" by George Paton, who was hired as the Broncos' general manager in 2021. When Paton was hired by the Broncos, he said he felt like this team was a "sleeping giant". The acquisition of Russell Wilson in 2022 seemed to be the final missing piece to the puzzle for the Broncos, but it was anything but that. Could Sean Payton actually prove to be the one to get the most out of this roster?
The Broncos are talented on both sides of the ball. They have star players and/or budding stars on both sides of the ball. Let's look at the quality of this roster and give each position group a grade out of 100 looking at the following criteria:
- Quality of the starter(s)
- Quality of the depth
- Potential ceiling/floor
Assuming every position group were to miraculously stay healthy, how good is this Denver Broncos roster in 2023?