2023 NFL Offseason: Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos (Last Year: 5-12)

2023 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
QB Jarrett Stidham, RB Tony Jones, FB Mike Burton, WR Marquez Callaway, TE Chris Manhertz, OT Mike McGlinchey, G Ben Powers, C Kyle Fuller, DE/DT Zach Allen, DE Frank Clark, P Riley Dixon.
Early Draft Picks:
WR Marvin Mims, LB Drew Sanders, CB Riley Moss. Broncos Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
RB Latavius Murray, RB Chase Edmonds, RB Mike Boone, FB Andrew Beck, TE Eric Saubert, OT Billy Turner, OT Calvin Anderson, G Dalton Risner, G Tom Compton, C/G Graham Glasgow, DT Dre’Mont Jones, DT DeShawn Williams, DE/OLB Jacob Martin, CB Ronald Darby, K Brandon McManus.

2023 Denver Broncos Offense:
The Buccaneers and Rams won consecutive Super Bowls after adding great quarterbacks, so the Broncos had aspirations of doing the same following their trade for Russell Wilson. Instead, the first season with Wilson at the helm was a colossal disappointment, as Denver finished 5-12 and averaged a meager 16.9 points per game. Wilson performed poorly, completing a career-worst 60.5 percent of his passes and maintaining a mediocre touchdown-to-interception ratio of 16:11.

While Wilson struggled, there were two reasons why he was so putrid. The first was Nathaniel Hackett’s abysmal coaching. This has been resolved by Hackett’s firing and the trade for Sean Payton. There’s no guarantee that Payton will be as great of a coach as he was in his early New Orleans days, but he’ll be a colossal upgrade over Hackett. The second was the horrid play of the offensive line. This has been resolved via two acquisitions and one injury-related event. The two acquisitions were the signings of Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers. McGlinchey is a talented right tackle, while Powers is a solid guard. Both will be huge upgrades over what Denver had last year.

The injury-related event is the return of Garett Bolles, who played in only five games last year. He’s an exceptional left tackle who will be 100 percent heading into 2023, so he’ll provide a huge boost along with McGlinchey and Powers. The other two projected starters on the front are Quinn Meinerz and Lloyd Cushenberry. The latter is the weak link of the offensive line, while Meinerz is a third-year player who performed at a high level in 2022.

With greatly improved protection, Wilson will have more time in the pocket to locate his receivers for considerable gains. Wilson developed a great rapport with Jerry Jeudy down the stretch, with Jeudy catching 33 passes in his final five games, which included a 154-yard outburst in the finale. Jeudy is the top receiver on the team, as Courtland Sutton hasn’t quite been the same since tearing his ACL, though being another year removed from that injury could help. The Broncos also spent a third-round pick on receiver Marvin Mims, while Tim Patrick will be returning from his own torn ACL, so Wilson will have more viable targets at his disposal. There’s Greg Dulcich as well; the athletic tight end had some strong performances as a rookie this past season.

With everything seemingly better, the only question remaining on this side of the ball is Javonte Williams’ status. Williams is a very gifted runner, but tore his ACL as well. Skill players don’t fare well off torn ACLs, so Samaje Perine may have to handle a considerable workload for most of the 2023 campaign. Perine is a quality receiver out of the backfield, but isn’t a very talented runner.

2023 Denver Broncos Defense:
Garett Bolles and Javonte Williams weren’t the only talented Denver players to miss multiple games last year. Randy Gregory was on the field for just six contests. He was missed, especially when the Broncos dealt Bradley Chubb. Gregory figures to have better injury luck this season, so his presence will be huge for Denver’s pass-rushing aspirations. He’ll start across from Baron Browning, who had an inconsistent 2022 campaign. Browning is only 24, so he has plenty of room for improvement. Browning is coming off an injury, prompting the front office to sign former Chief Frank Clark, who is coming off a down year.

Denver’s edge rush will be improved if Gregory can stay on the field. The team will also generate some heat from the interior, thanks to the signing of Zach Allen, who was a force for the Cardinals. Allen should help against the run as well, which has been a problem for the Broncos over the past couple of seasons. Allen will need to perform on a high level because the rest of Denver’s defensive line is comprised of mediocre-at-best players like D.J. Jones, Mike Purcell, and Jonathan Harris.

An improved pass rush should help a secondary that features two talented cornerbacks in Patrick Surtain and K’Waun Williams. Surtain is a very gifted player, but Denver didn’t have much across from him, as Damarri Mathis struggled last year. This is why the Broncos used a third-round pick on Riley Moss to provide some competition.

If Moss can pan out, the Broncos will have an exceptional secondary, as their two safeties are excellent. Justin Simmons is one of the better players at his position across the league, while Caden Sterns showed lots of promise last year before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 5. Sterns is only 23, so there’s lots of room for growth.

The Broncos figure to be strong over the middle of the field. In addition to their talented safeties, they have a nice tandem at linebacker, which is comprised of Josey Jewell and Alex Singleton. Jewell was missed for much of the first half of 2022 when he was in and out of the lineup with injuries, but he had a strong second half of the season.

2023 Denver Broncos Schedule and Intangibles:
The thin Denver air creates a hostile environment for opponents, which explains why it had an NFL-best 77-18 home record from 1995 to 2005. The team tailed off after that, but has since reestablished its great home-field advantage. In the Peyton Manning era, the Broncos were 32-6 as hosts, including the playoffs. Denver struggled as a host since Manning’s retirement, so we’ll see if it regains that with Russell Wilson and Sean Payton.

The Broncos cut Brandon McManus and replaced him with undrafted free agent Elliott Fry.

Riley Dixon ranked in the middle of the pack as far as net average is concerned. He didn’t do a good job of pinning the opposition inside the 20.

The Broncos will have a good chance to get off to a nice start, as three of their initial four games are against the Raiders, Redskins, and Bears. Things get much tougher after that, though Denver still has some easy games on the slate later in the year.

2023 Denver Broncos Rookies:
Go here for the Broncos Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.

2023 Denver Broncos Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2023 Denver Broncos Analysis: The Broncos could become the team everyone thought they’d be last year. Their coaching and offensive line play will be greatly improved, so Russell Wilson will perform much better as a result. The problem is that Denver still plays in the AFC West, so vast improvement may not even translate into a postseason appearance.

Projection: 8-9 (3rd in AFC West)

2022 Projection: 12-5. 2022 Actual Result: 5-12.
2021 Projection: 9-8. 2021 Actual Result: 7-10.
2020 Projection: 8-8. 2020 Actual Result: 5-11.
2019 Projection: 7-9. 2019 Actual Result: 7-9.
2018 Projection: 8-8. 2018 Actual Result: 6-10.
2017 Projection: 7-9. 2017 Actual Result: 5-11.
2016 Projection: 7-9. 2016 Actual Result: 9-7.

NFL Draft Team Grade: C- Grade

Goals Entering the 2023 NFL Draft: The Broncos don’t have a pick in the first two rounds, but they have a pair of selections in the third frame. They did a good job of ensuring that Russell Wilson performs better this offseason with some of their free agent moves, but they can draft an insurance policy for Wilson. They can also use a pick or two to help their run defense, which ranked 20th last year.

2023 NFL Draft Accomplishments: With five selections, none of which were made prior to the final pick of the second round, the Broncos were going to be challenged to greatly improve their roster through the 2023 NFL Draft. What they could have done is trade down to acquire more resources, as they need all the help they can get as a result of residing in such a terrific division.

Instead the Broncos moved up a few spots in the 60s to draft a receiver despite there being so many wideouts available at that juncture. That wasn’t a wise move, and neither was selecting Riley Moss in the third frame. Moss was a fifth-round prospect at best, so that was a reach. Furthermore, the Broncos’ initial pick will not fill a need, as the team already has a crowded receiving corps.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m not a fan of what the Broncos accomplished. Granted, they didn’t have the ammunition to make a big splash, but they also could have done much better.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

63. Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma – C Grade
I don’t understand why these teams are trading up for receivers right now when there are so many talented players at the position still available. Marvin Mims isn’t Jalin Hyatt, but he’s super fast. This could mean that one of Courtland Sutton or Jerry Jeudy will be traded.

67. Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas – A Grade
Drew Sanders definitely could have gone earlier than this. He’s a high-upside, athletic player who can be used all over the field. He can be used in the middle of the field or on the edge. I love this value.

83. Riley Moss, CB, Iowa – C- Grade
The Broncos needed a cornerback, but this is too early for Riley Moss. The Iowa prospect has some speed concerns and a checkered injury history, so I thought he would be chosen around the fifth-round range.

183. J.L. Skinner, S/LB, Boise State – B- Grade
The sixth round is the right range for J.L. Skinner, who is a safety-linebacker tweener. He may not have a natural position in the NFL, but he should be able to play special teams well.

257. Alex Forsyth, C, Oregon – A Grade
Alex Forsyth was solid in run blocking and pass protection last year at Oregon. I’m surprised he went so late; I thought he could have been taken early on Day 3.

Season Summary:
The Broncos were discussed as a possible Super Bowl contender once they traded for Russell Wilson. Instead, the 2022 season was a complete disaster, as Denver was often the laughing stock of the NFL, thanks to Nathaniel Hackett’s horrendous coaching. Denver will look to rebound with a better coaching staff this year.

Offseason Moves:
  • Broncos sign C Kyle Fuller
  • Broncos sign WR Marquez Callaway
  • Broncos sign RB Tony Jones
  • Broncos sign P Riley Dixon
  • Broncos sign FB Mike Burton
  • Broncos sign RB Samaje Perine
  • Broncos sign DE/DT Zach Allen
  • Broncos sign TE Chris Manhertz
  • Broncos sign OT Mike McGlinchey
  • Broncos sign G Ben Powers
  • Broncos sign QB Jarrett Stidham

    Team Needs:
    1. Center: Denver struggled to block last year. Aside from Garett Bolles’ injury, the weakness at center was the biggest problem.

    2. Linebacker: It seems as though Denver has needed linebacker help for decades. The position has been a problem since the Super Bowl victory. Upgrading this area will help the Broncos stop the run. Re-signed Alex Singleton

    3. Defensive Tackle: Speaking of stopping the run, Denver needs to get better here as well. Signed Zach Allen

    4. Edge Rusher: The Broncos had a great pass rush in the first half of the 2022 season. That changed when Bradley Chubb was traded, so he’ll need to be replaced.

    5. Quarterback: Denver will need to find a quarterback to compete with Russell Wilson, just in case Wilson is the lemon he looked like last year. Signed Jarrett Stidham

    6. Right Tackle: Three of Denver’s four tackles – Billy Turner, Calvin Anderson, Cameron Fleming – are entering free agency. Signed Mike McGlinchey

    7. Guard: Dalton Risner is another offensive line free agent-to-be. Signed Ben Powers

    8. Cornerback Depth: It seems like the Broncos always have injury issues at cornerback, so better depth is needed.

    9. Punter: Corliss Waitman is an impending free agent. Signed Riley Dixon

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2023 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Mike McGlinchey, OT, 49ers. Age: 28.
      Signed with Broncos (5 years, $87.5 million)

      Mike McGlinchey has been one of the better right tackles in the NFL for quite some time. He’s not an elite player, but is definitely in the second tier at the position.

    2. Riley Dixon, P, Rams. Age: 30.
      Signed with Broncos

      Riley Dixon ranked third in punting last year.

    3. Zach Allen, DE/DT, Cardinals. Age: 26.
      Signed with Broncos (3 years, $47.8 million)

      Zach Allen had always been a decent player, but he made a big leap in 2022. He was terrific, so he may get a big contract.

    4. Ben Powers, G, Ravens. Age: 26.
      Signed with Broncos (4 years, $52 million)

      Ben Powers is a terrific pass protector, though he could get a bit stronger to improve his run blocking. He’s 26, so there’s definitely room for improvement.

    5. Samaje Perine, RB, Bengals. Age: 27.
      Signed with Broncos (2 years, $7.5 million)

      Samaje Perine isn’t much of a runner, but he’s a threat as a receiver out of the backfield.

    6. Jarrett Stidham, QB, Raiders. Age: 27.
      Signed with Broncos (2 years, $10 million)

      Jarrett Stidham played so well in a Week 17 battle against the 49ers that he deserves a two-star rating. There’s a chance this could have been a fluke, but Stidham deserves to be able to compete for a job.

    7. Marquez Callaway, WR, Saints. Age: 25. — Signed with Broncos
    8. Michael Burton, FB, Chiefs. Age: 31. — Signed with Broncos
    9. Chris Manhertz, TE, Jaguars. Age: 31. — Signed with Broncos
    10. Kyle Fuller, C, Seahawks. Age: 29. — Signed with Broncos

    Denver Broncos Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Dalton Risner, G, Broncos. Age: 28.
      Dalton Risner developed well after being chosen in the second round, becoming a quality guard who thrives in pass protection.

    2. Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Broncos. Age: 26.
      Signed with Seahawks

      Dre’Mont Jones tends to get trampled in run support, but he’s a solid pass-rushing presence with 18.5 sacks in the past three years.

    3. Billy Turner, OT, Broncos. Age: 31.
      Signed with Jets

      Billy Turner is a mediocre-to-pedestrian starting offensive tackle. He missed some time with a knee injury last year.

    4. Kareem Jackson, S, Broncos. Age: 35.
      Re-signed with Broncos

      Kareem Jackson used to be a terrific player, but he’s turning 35 this offseason and doesn’t have much time remaining in the NFL.

    5. Latavius Murray, RB, Broncos. Age: 33.
      Signed with Bills

      Latavius Murray performed better than expected in relief of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon, but he turned 33 this offseason, so he doesn’t have much time remaining in the NFL.

    6. Alex Singleton, LB, Broncos. Age: 29.
      Re-signed with Broncos (3 years, $18 million)

      Alex Singleton fared well as Denver’s new linebacker last year, particularly when defending the run.

    7. Graham Glasgow, C/G, Broncos. Age: 31.
      Signed with Lions (1 year)

      Graham Glasgow is a mediocre blocker, but he’s a versatile player who can start at guard and center.

    8. Ronald Darby, CB, Broncos. Age: 29.
      Ronald Darby is a talented cornerback, but he can’t stay healthy. He’s coming off a torn ACL.

    9. Cameron Fleming, OT, Broncos. Age: 30. — Re-signed with Broncos
    10. Chase Edmonds, RB, Broncos. Age: 27. — Signed with Buccaneers (1 year)
    11. Calvin Anderson, OT, Broncos. Age: 27. — Signed with Patriots
    12. DeShawn Williams, DT, Broncos. Age: 30. — Signed with Panthers
    13. Eric Saubert, TE, Broncos. Age: 29. — Signed with Dolphins
    14. Mike Boone, RB, Broncos. Age: 28. — Signed with Texans
    15. Andrew Beck, FB, Broncos. Age: 27. — Signed with Texans
    16. Tom Compton, G, Broncos. Age: 34.
    17. Eric Tomlinson, TE, Broncos. Age: 31. — Signed with Texans
    18. Corliss Waitman, P, Broncos. Age: 27. — Signed with Patriots
    19. Darius Phillips, CB, Broncos. Age: 27. — Signed with Texans
    20. Dakota Allen, LB, Broncos. Age: 27.
    21. Marlon Mack, RB, Broncos. Age: 27.

    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors

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