The Denver Broncos have a solid foundation on both offense and defense, but their window is closing. With new head coach Vic Fangio and quarterback Joe Flacco, the Broncos should find help on the offensive side of the ball.
Last offseason, the Denver Broncos and General Manager John Elway thought they had figured out their quarterback problems when they signed Case Keenum after his magical 2017 season with the Minnesota Vikings. Keenum signed with the Broncos for two years worth $36 million. Keenum was supposed to be the answer the Broncos were looking for since Peyton Manning retired after winning Super Bowl 50 in 2016.
However, things didn’t go exactly as planned. Now, Keenum will join the likes of Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and Paxton Lynch in failed stints with the Broncos. Hoping to find a capable quarterback to manage the game finally, the Broncos made an eyebrow-raising move – an agreement in principle to trade for 34-year-old former Super Bowl MVP QB Joe Flacco from the Baltimore Ravens. They hope that Flacco will be a band-aid until they get their long-term starter.
It’s not all on the offense, in any case. Last season, Denver’s once-proud defense fell to 22nd overall, with their offense coming in at 19th overall. There’s much work to be done for new head coach Vic Fangio and Elway.
The first position the Broncos need to address is the offensive line, especially if they plan on Flacco being the guy under center for the entire season. The Broncos gave up 44 sacks on the year, an average of 2.75 sacks a game. Flacco is 34 and is a QB that likes to hold the ball to take shots downfield. If they don’t protect him better, he will struggle to play all 16 games. That being said Daryl Williams, offensive tackle from the Carolina Panthers could be a great fit.
The defense fell off a bit last year with the departure of some secondary personnel and defensive lineman. When the Broncos won the Super Bowl on the strength of their defense, they had lockdown cornerbacks who allowed Von Miller and the boys to get to the quarterback. Last year they downgraded in the secondary, and the sack numbers and total defense numbers also dropped. Coincidence? I think not. A notable target in the secondary could be Ronald Darby, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles. The defensive line would be bolstered by targeting Grady Jarrett from the Atlanta Falcons and Sheldon Richardson from Minnesota Vikings.
Since the trade with the Ravens cannot process until March 13, we don’t know for sure what the compensation will be. However, reports say that it is a fourth rounder. As of today, the Broncos have nine picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, and they pick 10th overall in the first round. The trade for Flacco does not necessarily take them out of making a QB their first-round pick. If Dewayne Haskins or Kylar Murray or another top QB falls to 10, the Broncos could take him as the quarterback of the future. Elway needs to get the QB position correct, or Broncos fans will start to get restless.
Another position of need is the wide receiver position. Denver traded their strong number one receiver Demaryius Thomas in 2018. Elway needs to address this either in the draft or free agency. A receiver, although not a popular pick at ten, could be the move if a top QB doesn’t fall. Top wide receivers that Elway and the Broncos may target with some of their nine picks are N’Keal Harry from Arizona State, Hakeem Butler Iowa State, and Andy Isabella from UMass. Another one who might help is AJ Brown from Ole Miss. Our own Nick Zeller-Singh went into the PFN Film Room and broke down his game. Isabella would definitely be a late round addition, but one thing is certain – the Broncos are going to have to get Flacco some receiver help.
2019 is a big offseason for the Elway regime as far as addressing needs through the draft and free agency. The QB position, outside of Manning, has mostly been unsettled. The defense has been the backbone of the team, but it is getting older and cannot carry the team as it once did. Elway needs to bring in playmakers on offense so that the defense can rest and not feel like they have to play lights out for 60 minutes. With Fangio coming over after serving as a defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears and bringing Rich Scangarello as offensive coordinator, there is a breath of fresh air. However, unless they upgrade the talent around Flacco and Miller, they will be hard pressed to surpass the six-win total of 2018.