The Denver Broncos are beginning a new chapter with a new coach and a new owner. Vic Fangio is out in Denver after a 7-10 season which marked the second year in a row the Broncos finished in last place in the AFC West. There are many areas in which the Broncos could improve this offseason, and they will have to if they want to end the second-longest active playoff drought in the NFL.
Despite the fact that the Detroit Lions, New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars have made the playoffs more recently than the Broncos, this team may not be too far away from competing. Denver has young stars on both sides of the ball, and needs someone to come in and get the most out of them. Below, we will break down three items that should be on the Broncos’ to-do list this offseason.
1. Hire an offensive-minded head coach
Hiring the right head coach is going to be an important step for the Broncos. They were the first team to really get rolling when it came to scheduling interviews, and as of Wednesday evening, had requested 10. Denver also has interest in a couple of surprise candidates. Among those are New England Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Luke Getsy and Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan. I’m not going to identify a specific candidate as a must-hire. With that said, I want an offensive-minded coach.
The Broncos’ past two head coaches have been defensive-minded, and the Broncos never made the playoffs under either. Too much can be made about going after an offensive-minded guy vs. a defensive-minded candidate, but fans are sick of the offense looking like one of the worst in the league. With some of the players Denver has on offense, there’s no reason this unit should have finished in the bottom half of the league this season. I want a head man who can get the most out of Javonte Williams, Noah Fant, Jerry Jeudy and the rest of the weapons. A couple candidates that come to mind are Kellen Moore, Nathaniel Hackett, Kevin O’Connell and Doug Pederson.
2. Find your quarterback
Whether offensive-minded or defensive-minded, the new head coach won’t find much success if he doesn’t have a legitimate starting quarterback. The Broncos have several options with how to proceed here, but they should be swinging for the fences. Denver was a prospective landing spot for Aaron Rodgers during last offseason’s drama. Whenever the Packers’ season is over, pick up the phone. NFL Insider John Clayton recently said Rodgers could be available for a first- and third-round pick, which sounds much too low, but wouldn’t that be an incredible get? If not Rodgers, what about Russell Wilson? He and the Seattle Seahawks could be headed for splitsville this offseason, and he would be an automatic upgrade.
As far as free agents go, there’s not many players out there that would definitively be an upgrade — although Jameis Winston letting it fly at Mile High could be intriguing. Drafting a quarterback could be an option for the Broncos, as they hold the No. 9 overall pick in the draft. CBS Sports NFL Draft guru Ryan Wilson has the Broncos taking the first quarterback in Matt Corral out of Ole Miss with that pick in his latest mock draft. It’s widely believed this quarterback class is not as talented as ones in years past, but the Broncos could have their pick of the litter.
3. Fill a couple needs on defense
The Broncos traded Von Miller this past season, and they need a legitimate starter opposite of Bradley Chubb to keep up pressure on passers. Even if you’re a Jonathon Cooper fan, you could potentially score a bigger name in free agency or another with one of your first draft picks. You can never have enough pass-rushers, and Chubb hasn’t played a full season since his rookie year.
Another position that sticks out to me is cornerback. We came into this season really believing the Broncos could have one of the better cornerback rooms in the league, but it didn’t pan out that way. Ronald Darby proved to be a good signing, but the addition of Kyle Fuller didn’t bolster the defense like many thought it would. He and Bryce Callahan are searching for new contracts this offseason. This need is something that could likely be satisfied via the draft.