Ranking the Denver Broncos' projected starters ahead of the 2023 season

-Which projected starter for the Broncos is the best player?

-Should we be viewing Russell Wilson higher or lower?

-Which position group has the best starters?

Denver Broncos
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I am confident that the Denver Broncos have an adequate starting lineup ahead of the 2023 NFL season. Let's rank the 22 starters on offense and defense. If the Denver Broncos ended the 2023 regular season with a top-12 scoring offense and defense, I would not be surprised. For starters, the defense was one of the best in the NFL last year and got more talented on paper this offseason.

Sean Payton's offenses, historically, have only ranked worse than 12th in scoring one time, so there's a very good chance that the offense is in the upper third of the league, which is extremely encouraging. What's nice about having great coaching is that they can scheme up what's needed to take advantage of individual opponents and matchups, and can also hide player weaknesses and play to their strengths.

While the Broncos may have some lower-end starters on their projected lineup, that doesn't necessarily mean that they will play as a lower-end starter. I'd feel comfortable in saying that Lloyd Cushenberry is probably the Broncos' worst projected starter, but he's also someone who might play very well in Payton's offense. You just never know.

As of now, though, I think it's obvious that the Denver Broncos are stronger in some positions and weaker in others. Let's rank all 22 projected starters on offense and defense ahead of the 2023 NFL season, using the depth chart from ESPN.com.

Ranking the Denver Broncos' projected starters ahead of the 2023 season

22. Lloyd Cushenberry, C

You could argue that a younger player with less experience like Damarri Mathis might be someone who we could rank as the worst starter, but most of what Lloyd Cushenberry has put on tape is quite bad. PFF rated him as the 26th center ahead of the 2023 season, and the Broncos did draft a center in the 2023 NFL Draft, Alex Forsyth, who may end up taking over during the season if Cush struggles.

21. Kareem Jackson, S

Kareem Jackson is not good anymore, folks. He's old, slow, and cannot cover. I'm sure he's an exceptional teammate and locker-room presence, but it was clear that he was declining in 2022. He's a liability in coverage, which is a big responsibility for safeties. I do think Caden Sterns ends up cracking the starting lineup, but right now, Jackson is the incumbent.

20. Damarri Mathis, CB

Damarri Mathis, a 2022 NFL Draft pick and former Pittsburgh Panther, had some struggles during his rookie season but seemed to find his footing later in the year. I do think Mathis ends the 2023 season as a fine starter in all honesty, but I think he's also someone who is going to get picked on a ton, especially since he's unproven and because Patrick Surtain II, the best CB in the NFL, is playing opposite him.

19. Randy Gregory, EDGE

Randy Gregory is an extremely talented player, but he has a horrid track record of not being able to stay on the field. This is a very crucial year for Gregory, who started the 2022 season on fire before going down with a knee injury and missing a majority of the season. He's not a high-end pass rusher by any means, but at his best, he's an 8-10 sack type of player, and that's if he can put a full season together. Right now, though, his stock is very low.

18. Baron Browning, EDGE

It's not a good thing if two of the lower-end starters in the Denver Broncos' lineup are the projected starting EDGE rushers. Browning missed some time last year with a hip injury, but did manage five sacks in his first true action as an outside linebacker in the NFL. Browning has insane athleticism, but his still being young and unproven as a pass rusher in the league puts him lower on this list.