Outlook for the 2011 Denver Broncos

Outlook for the 2011 Denver Broncos
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Tim Tebow is expected to be the “Face” of the Denver Broncos, but can he get them into the playoffs?
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Elvis Dumervil missed 2010 with a torn pectoral muscle and tendon, but will he be the same dominating force that he was in 2009 when he had 17 sacks?

The Denver Broncos tied for the second worst record in the NFL last season at 4-12. The Broncos gave up the most points in the NFL on defense, allowing an average of 29.4 points per game. The Broncos also struggled running the ball and averaged only 96.5 yards per game on the ground, which ranked as the eighth fewest in the league.

In an effort to change their losing ways, the Broncos fired Josh McDaniels and hired Head Coach John Fox. With Fox at the helm, the Broncos will switch to the 4-3 defense and go from a pass-happy offense to a run-heavy offense.

In the 2011 NFL Draft, the Broncos used their first-round pick on the best pass rusher in the draft in Von Miller (Texas A&M). In the second-round, the Broncos used their first pick to select safety Rahim Moore (UCLA) in an attempt to get younger in their secondary. With their second pick in the second-round, the Broncos selected Ryan Harris’s replacement at right tackle in Orlando Franklin (Miami FL). In the third-round, the Broncos drafted a middle linebacker in Nate Irving (NC State). In the fourth-round, the Broncos selected a pass-catching tight end in Julius Thomas. The Broncos spent the rest of their draft filling in their depth chart.

With the addition of their rookies, let’s take a look at the Broncos’ current roster and see what positions are still in need of upgrades.

Quarterbacks (3)

Tim Tebow, Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn

Tim Tebow will be the Broncos’ starting quarterback because he fits the profile of what new Head Coach John Fox looks for in a quarterback. Tebow has strong intangibles, leadership, work ethic, toughness, and the ability to come through when a game is on the line. Tebow started three of the nines games he appeared in last year and completed 50 percent of his passes for 654 yards, 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Tebow still needs to work on his mechanics, but he appears ready to become an everyday starting quarterback.

Kyle Orton started thirteen games last season and completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 3,653 yards, 20 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Orton isn’t to blame for the Broncos’ 4-12 record last season, but it appears as though the new coaching staff wants to trade Orton and see what they have in Tim Tebow. Once the Lockout is over, Orton will have plenty of teams looking his way, but he will most likely end up with the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks or the Washington Redskins.

Brady Quinn wants to compete for the Broncos’ starting quarterback job, but is a long shot to win the job. Quinn has completed 52.1 percent of his career passes and averages 5.4 yards per pass attempt to go along with 10 career touchdowns and 9 career interceptions.

Free Agent Analysis:

Denver is expected to trade Kyle Orton and if it happens it will leave a hole at backup quarterback. Tebow is still developing his skills in the NFL and would still need a mentor to help him progress. Potential Free Agents include: Marc Bulger, Jake Delhomme, J.P. Losman, Jim Sorgi, and Billy Volek.

Halfbacks (5)

Knowshon Moreno, Lance Ball, Correll Buckhalter, Jeremiah Johnson, LenDale White

Knowshon Moreno is the current starter right now, but he has work ethic issues and there are concerns that he can’t handle a feature back role. New Head Coach John Fox wants the Broncos to transition to a run-heavy offense and he has said that halfback is the team’s number one priority in free agency, once the Lockout is over. If the Broncos land another halfback, Moreno will be used in a third-down role, despite the fact that he started thirteen game last season. Moreno rushed for 779 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground and grabbed 37 receptions for 372 receiving yard and 3 touchdowns through the air in 2010.

Lance Ball beat out Correll Buckhalter as Knowshon Moreno’s backup at the end of last season, averaging 3.9 yards per carry. Ball was often used to pass protect, but his role will change in 2011. If the Broncos sign a free agent and Moreno takes the third down role, Ball will have to compete to become the Broncos’ third-string halfback.

Correll Buckhalter averaged 2.5 yards per carry last year and is scheduled to make $1.92 million in 2011. The Broncos don’t want to pay a third-string back that much money, so it’s likely that he will be released once the Lockout is over.

LenDale White ruptured his right Achilles last August and likely will get cut before opening day. Players are never the same after dealing with that kind of injury and White hasn’t done enough in his career to influence the Broncos to keep him on their roster.

Jeremiah Johnson signed a reserve/future contract, but isn’t expected to make the team with the current amount of halfbacks ahead of him on the depth chart.

Free Agent Analysis:

Denver doesn’t believe Knowshon Moreno is capable of being a feature back and has stressed that finding another halfback is their top priority. Most NFL analysts believe that the Broncos are going to pursue DeAngelo Williams because of his connections to the new Head Coach John Fox. If the Broncos can’t sign Williams, here are a list of Potential Free Agents that the team could consider: Cedric Benson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Ronnie Brown, Michael Bush, Willis McGahee, Clinton Portis and Ricky Williams.

Fullback (2)

Spencer Larson, Mike McLaughlin

Spencer Larson played with an injured ankle last season, but eventually ended up on injured reserve. Larson will probably have to compete for the fullback job with Mike McLaughlin, but his starting experience will likely win him the job.

Mike McLaughlin is recovering from a sports hernia. McLaughlin used to be a linebacker at Boston College, but became a fullback with the Baltimore Ravens before getting injured. While at the Ravens’ training camp, McLaughlin earned the nickname “Alstott” from Willis McGahee.

Free Agent Analysis:

Denver has two fullbacks that dealt with injuries last season, but both should be healthy by opening day. If the Broncos want some insurance though, tight end Dan Gronkowski filled in last season when Spencer Larson was hurt and could switch to fullback because the Broncos just drafted two tight ends.

Wide Receivers (8)

Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Eddie Royal, Eric Decker, Matt Willis, Britt Davis, Demaryius Thomas, Eron Riley

Brandon Lloyd had a career year last season and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl as a result. Lloyd finished 2010 with 77 receptions for a league leading 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns. The chances of Lloyd producing at the same level in 2011 is not very high though because new Head Coach John Fox wants to make the Broncos a run-heavy team.

Jabar Gaffney had a career high 65 receptions for 875 yards and 2 touchdowns last season. Gaffney likely won’t produce like that again in 2011 because of the Broncos’ new philosophy to run the ball more and because Tim Tebow’s limitations as a quarterback might prevent him from spreading the ball around to multiple receivers as effectively as Orton.

Eddie Royal had 59 receptions for 627 yards and 3 touchdowns last season, but he will see his role decrease in 2011 because the new offensive game plan won’t call for nearly as many three- and four-receiver sets. Royal should be ok with that though because he is currently recovering from an offseason hip procedure.

Eric Decker could potential beat out Jabar Gaffney as a starter because he has more talent and could easily step in as a physical, possession complement to Brandon Lloyd. Decker’s rookie season was delayed by a Lisfranc fracture that he suffered during his senior season at Minnesota, but he was still able to grab 6 receptions for 106 yards and 1 touchdown

Matt Willis landed on injured reserve with a broken foot last season, but still managed to have a reception for 17 yards. Willis was also a productive special teamer last season, so he could potentially make the team again in 2011.

Britt Davis was promoted from the practice squad to the Broncos’ roster after Demaryius Thomas landed on the injured reserve last season. Davis is a big possession receiver, but needs to produce on a consistent basis in order to land a No. 5 spot.

Demaryius Thomas is recovering from Achilles tendon surgery and won’t be back until at least Mid-October. Thomas will most likely begin the year on the PUP list, but won’t be able to contribute until around Thanksgiving.

Eron Riley signed a reserve/future contract, but likely won’t make the roster with so many players already ahead of him on the depth chart.

Free Agent Analysis:

Denver is set at receiver, and probably won’t even use all of their talented receivers in 2011.

Tight End (5)

Julius Thomas, Virgil Green, Dan Gronkowski, Richard Quinn, Daniel Coats

Rookie Julius Thomas (Portland State) as upside as a pass catcher and has good football smarts, but he needs to work on his blocking and route running. The Broncos view Thomas as a classic in-line tight end, but Thomas used to play basketball is more athletic than a traditional in-line tight end.

Rookie Virgil Green (Nevada) fell to the seventh round because of a microfracture from four years ago. Green is healthy now of course, but will be limited to situational duty in his first season in the NFL. Green will be given the “Joker” role immediately and will line up on the line of scrimmage, in the slot, out wide and in motion.

Dan Gronkowski is more of a blocking tight end than a pass catching tight end. Gronkowski had only 8 receptions for 64 yards last season. In fact, the Broncos value Gronkowski’s blocking skills so much, they allowed him to play fullback when Spencer Larson went down with an injury.

Richard Quinn is a blocking tight end like Dan Gronkowski, except that he only has 1 reception for 9 yards in his two-year career. Quinn will be a long shot to make the team because the two draft picks are virtual locks and Gronkowski has experience at fullback

Daniel Coats is a blocking specialist, but likely won’t make the team because there are two other blocking specialist tight ends battling for the third-string tight end position.

Free Agent Analysis:

Denver is set at tight end because they just drafted two of them.

O-Line (13)

Ryan Clady, Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton, Chris Kuper, Orlando Franklin, Russ Hochstein, Stanley Daniels, Chris Clark, Eric Olsen, Jeff Byers, Shawn Murphy, Manuel Ramirez, Herbert Taylor

Ryan Clady made the Pro Bowl in 2009, but struggled at the beginning of 2010 because he hadn’t recovered 100 percent from the torn patellar tendon that he had suffered from playing basketball in April last year. Clady got better as the 2010 season wore on and should be able to play at Pro Bowl level in 2011.

Zane Beadles was a tackle in college, but switched over to left guard last season and did a solid job of pass protecting for Kyle Orton. Beadles will receive a challenge in 2011 though as he’ll be asked to run block more.

J.D. Walton started at center as a rookie last year and did a good job of replacing Casey Wiegmann. Walton is a good power blocker, and should be in for a test in 2011 as the Broncos will run the ball more.

Chris Kuper isn’t a difference maker, but he is a solid power-blocking mauler with great durability. Kuper dealt with knee and ankle injuries last season, but was still able to play though the whole season.

Rookie Orlando Franklin (Miami FL) is regarded as a dominant run blocker, but his pass protection is considered a work in progress. Ryan Clady will still play at left tackle despite being the better blocker, so Tim Tebow will have to deal with Franklin’s growing pains

Russ Hochstein is a career backup and is fully recovered from his ACL surgery from a year ago. Hochstein is very versatile and can play both center and guard.

Stanley Daniels started the first four games for the Broncos last season at left guard but was eventually released before signing with the practice squad. Daniels has good size (6’4’’, 320 pounds) for a guard but needs to work on his technique if he’s going to ever start in the NFL again.

Chris Clark is average at run blocking, but is worse in pass protection. Clark is considered to be a project, but he should make the roster as a backup.

Eric Olsen is considered extra depth because if J.D. Walton were to go down with an injury, Russ Hochstein would be the first player off the sideline to replace him. Olsen is an good power blocker though, but he is going to have to be patient while he waits for his opportunity to play.

Jeff Byers likely won’t make the team because the Broncos don’t need any more guards on their roster. Byers might be able to catch on with another team before the season though.

Shawn Murphy, Manuel Ramirez, and Herbert Taylor signed reserve/future contracts, but aren’t likely to make the team with 10 other offensive lineman ahead of them on the depth chart.

Free Agent Analysis:

Denver lacks depth at offensive tackle, but is set at the center and guard positions. Potential Free Agents include: Alex Barron, Kirk Chambers, Wayne Hunter, Chester Pitts, Sean Locklear, and Langston Walker.

D-Line (9)

Elvis Dumervil, Kevin Vickerson, Louis Leonard, Robert Ayers, Jason Hunter, Jeremy Beal, David Veikune, Ben Garland, Mitch Unrein

Elvis Dumervil had 17 sacks as an outside linebacker in 2009, but missed all of 2010 with tears in his pectoral muscle and tendon. When Dumervil played at defensive end in the beginning of his career, he had 21 sacks in his first two seasons, but he fell to 5 sacks in 2008. Dumervil probably won’t record 17 sacks in 2011, but he will be an upgrade over any of the backups on the roster.

Kevin Vickerson will be a starter in 2011 since he dropped at least 30 pounds to add speed and flexibility for his move to the three-technique tackle in the Broncos’ new 4-3 defense. Vickerson emerged as a capable run defender last year, but the weight loss should help him become a better pass rusher.

Louis Leonard is not expected to start next season because the Broncos are expected to sign a free agent to start opposite Kevin Vickerson. Leonard played for the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots before finally achieving some continuity with the Broncos at the end of last season. In three games last season, Leonard had just two tackles, so it should be assumed that he’ll have a backup role in 2011.

Robert Ayers will start at left end on early downs, but will kick inside to defensive tackle in pass situations, allowing Von Miller to move to the line. With Elvis Dumervil, Ayers, and Miller on the line, the Broncos will have their best pass rushers in the nickel. Ayers 1.5 sacks last year, but probably struggled because he was asked to play outside linebacker after playing defensive end in college.

Jason Hunter will be a rotational end in 2011 after producing just 3 sacks last season. Hunter did have 60 tackles and a forced fumble, so he could potentially replace Robert Ayers as the starter if Ayers struggles again in 2011.

Rookie Jeremy Beal (Oklahoma) was an accomplished pass rusher in college, recording an impressive 27 sacks over his final three season. Beal’s speed (40 time of over 5.0) is concern though and is likely the reason he fell to the seventh-round.

David Veikune is going to switch from outside linebacker to defensive end in 2011, but the move could payoff in huge dividends since Veikune’s best attribute is his pass-rush ability. Veikune probably will be limited as a rotational end this season, but depending on how the season plays out, he could have a bigger role in 2012

Ben Garland was signed as an undrafted free agent last season, but spent the year on the “reserve/military” list. Garland is a long shot to make the team, but at least he’ll get a look from an NFL team.

Mitch Unrein signed a reserve/future contract, but isn’t expected to make the team because the Broncos are reportedly targeting two defensive tackles in free agency.

Free Agent Analysis:

Denver is set at defensive end, but needs to upgrade their defensive tackle position. Potential Free Agents include: Anthony Adams, Ron Edwards, Anthony Hargrove, Chris Hovan, Bryan Robinson, Jimmy Wilkerson, and Pat Williams.

Linebackers (10)

D.J. Williams, Nate Irving, Von Miller, Joe Mays, Wesley Woodyard, Mario Haggan, Mike Mohamed, Braxton Kelley, Lee Robinson, Dominic Douglas

D.J. Williams played as a 3-4 inside linebacker last season and had 119 tackles, 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble. In the Broncos’ new 4-3 defense, Williams will switch over to the weak-side, but will probably be suspended for a few games in 2011. Williams has had two DUI arrests in the last five-years which violates the NFL rules.

Rookie Nate Irving (NC State) led one of the nation’s top run defenses as a senior last season. Irving also has deceptive pass rush ability and showed a knack for making big plays in coverage. Irving will be a crucial player for the Broncos as they attempt to improve their defense by switching to the 4-3 system.

Rookie Von Miller (Texas A&M) is going to play strong-side linebacker, but will switch to defensive end on passing downs. Miller has great explosiveness, but his coverage skills were questionable in college, so the Broncos are going to let him do what he does best and rush the passer in passing situations.

Joe Mays is a slow-moving two-down thumper, but will be a backup to Nate Irving because new Head Coach John Fox likes to have highly athletic middle linebackers and Irving fits that mold better than Mays. Mays is a good run stopper, but without pass rushing skills, he’s likely to be limited to a special teams’ role in 2011.

Wesley Woodyard is expected to fill in at strong-side linebacker while D.J. Williams serves his potential suspension. Woodyard has talent in coverage, but his lack of pass rushing skills are the reason why he isn’t a full-time starter. Once Williams comes back, Woodyard should takeover at weak-side linebacker on passing downs.

Mario Haggan has played in 4-3 and 3-4 defenses in his career, but his current size (6’3’’, 267 pounds) suggests that he would be better off playing defensive end in the Broncos’ 4-3. Haggan will make $1.93 million in 2011, but the system fit might work against him and get him released. Haggan is a proven, and effective linebacker, so if he were to be let go, he would probably find a new home quickly.

Rookie Mike Mohamed (California) was the leading tackler at his college in his junior and senior seasons. Mohamed will be a backup and special teamer as a rookie though because he struggles in coverage.

Braxton Kelley will likely make the practice squad in 2011 because there is too many qualified backups on this roster.

Lee Robinson was promoted from the practice squad at the end of last season after Joe Mays landed on injured reserve with a groin injury.

Dominic Douglas signed a reserve/future contract, but the odds of him making the team are slim with so many linebackers already ahead of him on the depth chart.

Free Agent Analysis:

Denver is set at linebacker, but may release Mario Haggan because he is better suited for a 3-4 defense at this point in his career.

Cornerbacks (6)

Champ Bailey, Andre’ Goodman, Nathan Jones, Perrish Cox, Syd’Quan Thompson, Chevis Jackson

Champ Bailey is 33 years old but is still one of the elite cornerbacks in the NFL. As Bailey gets older, he could potentially become a free safety in order to extend his career by another couple of years. Bailey had 45 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 interceptions last year.

Andre’ Goodman injured his quad last season and only played in eight games as a result. When healthy, Goodman is capable of shutting down opposing teams No.2 receivers, but his injury was a key factor in why the Broncos pass defense struggled in 2010

Nathan Jones is a solid special teamer and decent nickel cornerback. Jones does a good job of sticking with opposing slot receivers, but that will change in 2011 as the Broncos switch to more of a zone approach.

Perrish Cox might not be on the Broncos much longer if he is found guilty in his sexual assault case. Cox’s sentence could range from two years to life in prison if convicted. Prior to the assault, Cox had been a backup, but filled in as a starter when Andre’ Goodman injured his quad. Cox is set to go on trial in October.

Syd’Quan Thompson was a special teamer last season, but could see time on defense because of the uncertainties surrounding Perrish Cox. Thompson is a physical corner, and finished as his alma mater’s (California) all-time leader in pass breakups, so he certainly is deserves an opportunity to earn a role on defense.

Chevis Jackson could make the roster if the Broncos decide to get rid of Perrish Cox because of his legal issues. Jackson is out of practice squad options, so he’ll need to earn a spot as the team’s fifth cornerback.

Free Agent Analysis:

Denver could lose Perrish Cox forever if he is found guilty, but Syd’Quan Thompson should be capable of filling in for him as the fourth corner. The Broncos will likely sign some undrafted free agent cornerbacks to compete with Chevis Jackson for the final spot.

Safeties (8)

Renaldo Hill, Brian Dawkins, Darcel McBath, Rahim Moore, Quinton Carter, David Bruton, Kyle McCarthy, Nick Polk

Renaldo Hill is 32 years old and scheduled to make $2.4 million in 2011. Hill had 63 tackles, 2 interceptions and 1 forced fumble last season, but was inconsistent in coverage last season. Hill could be released because the Broncos just drafted two safeties and are trying to get younger.

Brian Dawkins will be 38 years old in October and was horrendous in 2010. Dawkins is starting to lose his coverage abilities and his recent play certainly doesn’t merit the $6 million that he is scheduled to make in 2011. If Dawkins doesn’t take a pay cut, he could be released, but given his love for the city of Denver, he’ll probably restructure his contract.

Darcel McBath is expected to get a chance to start at free safety in 2011, despite being injury prone. Renaldo Hill and Brian Dawkins are slowly losing their athleticism and it became obvious last season that neither player has much left in the tank. If Dawkins is let go, Hill will move over to strong safety, allowing McBath to start at free safety.

Rookie Rahim Moore (UCLA) will probably play “center field” and compete with Renaldo Hill and Darcel McBath for playing time. Moore has drawn comparisons to Reggie Nelson, but only had 1 interception in his junior year after picking off 10 in his sophomore year.

Rookie Quinton Carter (Oklahoma) is considered a project right now despite his strength and his frame (6’1’’, 208 pounds). Carter has requisite tools, but doesn’t trust his eyes and takes poor angles to the ball. Carter will be a special teamer this year, but could become a potential starter once he cuts down on his mental mistakes

David Bruton is a special teamer, but was forced into a starting role last year due to the Broncos’ secondary being hit with the injury bug. Bruton finished with 25 tackles, but is not a candidate to receive significant playing time in 2011 because he couldn’t stay healthy last year.

Kyle McCarthy is coming off of reconstructive knee surgery, and likely won’t make the team because of the Broncos’ injury concerns and the amount of safeties on the roster.

Nick Polk signed a reserve/future contract, but has no chance of making the opening day roster because the Broncos have too many safeties on their roster and a few of them are going to get cut. Polk has no experience, so he’ll be the first to go.

Free Agent Analysis:

Denver has too many safeties on their roster. Renaldo Hill and Brian Dawkins need to start considering retirement. Darcel McBath and Rahim Moore are the Broncos’ future and it’s just a matter of time until the team figures that out.

Kicker (1)

Steven Hauschka

Steven Hauschka signed with the Broncos last season after Matt Prater ended up on the injured reserve with a groin injury. Hauschka finished the 2010 season converting 85.7 percent of his field goals, but could be cut if the Broncos are able to resign Prater.

Free Agent Analysis:

Denver needs to resign Matt Prater because Steven Hauschka has converted 72.7 percent of his field goals over his career and made mostly easy field goals last season.

Punter (1)

Britton Colquitt

Britton Colquitt averaged 44.6 yards per punt last season, but needs to work on his accuracy. Colquitt land 19 punts inside the 20-yard line, but also had 7 touchbacks.

Free Agent Analysis:

Denver should monitor Britton Colquitt closely during 2011, since it’s his contract year. If Colquitt can improve his directional kicking ability, they should resign him. If he flops in 2011, the Broncos will probably sign another punter in 2012.

Long Snapper (1)

Lonie Paxton

Lonie Paxton is one of the best long snappers in the NFL and is under contract through 2013.

Free Agent Analysis:

Denver is set at long snapper.

Kick/Punt Returners (2)

Eric Decker, Eddie Royal

Eric Decker averaged 25.3 yards per kick return last season when he replaced Demaryius Thomas due to his Achilles injury. Thomas is expected to miss the first half of 2011, so the job appears to be Decker’s to lose.

Eddie Royal averaged 11.9 yards per punt return last season, and will once again be the punt returner in 2011.

Free Agent Analysis:

Denver is set at both returner positions.

Broncos Unrestricted Free Agents (9)

Justin Bannan, Ronald Fields, Daniel Graham, Ryan Harris, Laurence Maroney, Ryan McBean, Matt Prater, Marcus Thomas, Jamal Williams

Justin Bannan can play as a 3-4 defensive end or as a 4-3 defensive tackle, but was released by the Broncos after he underperformed in the first year of his five-year $22 million contract. By releasing Bannan, the Broncos saved $4 million in cap room. Bannan will likely have to settle for a minor role with another team.

Ronald Fields likely won’t be brought back because he was arrested last season for “waving a gun in a nightclub.” Fields was used in a rotational role in 2010 and managed 22 tackles, but had 0 sacks. Fields is a former starting 4-3 defensive tackle, but has underachieved to this point, producing only 1 sack in six-year career.

Daniel Graham was released by the Broncos because they drafted two tight ends and he is no longer an asset as a receiver. Graham should still be able to find a job though, but he’ll need to embrace a blocking specialist role. The Seattle Seahawks could target him in free agency given his connection new Seahawks OL coach Tom Cable, who used to coach him at the University of Colorado.

Ryan Harris won’t be back with the Broncos because they just drafted a tackle with a second-round pick and he is injury prone. Prior to last season’s trade deadline, the Broncos reportedly talked attempted to deal Harris, but a six-week ankle injury scared teams away from acquiring him. The Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders, and Washington Redskins are the teams that were rumored to be interested, so maybe one of those teams will sign the 26 year old.

Laurence Maroney probably won’t get signed in 2011 because he averaged only 2.1 yards per carry last season and was charged with marijuana possession from his arrest back in January. Maroney’s best bet is to try the UFL or CFL in order to resurrect his career.

Ryan McBean wasn’t tendered after not producing any sacks in his 18 starts with the Broncos. McBean is a 3-4 defensive end, and will have to settle for a backup role wherever he ends up.

Matt Prater will likely be back with the Broncos after converting 88.9 percent of his field goal attempts last season. Prater has great leg strength and increasing accuracy. If Prater asks for too much money, the Broncos might say no because they currently have Steven Hauschka on their roster.

Marcus Thomas showed promise as a rotational lineman last season and could easily start at defensive tackle if he were to resign with the Broncos. The Broncos only drafted a seventh round defensive tackle this year, so it appears that the team is going to try to resign him.

Jamal Williams is a 3-4 nose tackle and is a three-time Pro Bowler. Williams is 35 years old though, so if he were to be signed, it would probably be as a short-term starter or as a backup with a mentor role.