2015 Depth Charts: Denver Broncos

| 2 years ago

2015 Depth Charts: Denver Broncos



•  Is Peyton Manning still an Elite quarterback? It’s tough to ignore what was a very signifcant drop off in performance in the second half of 2014 so we’re not convinced. He performed at the highest level for the vast majority of his career, but we need to see him raise his game again to say he’s still in that Elite group.

•  Have we been generous to C.J. Anderson? Well, he might not have a huge quantity of playing time under his belt, but we played at a very high level in 2014, becoming a key part of the Broncos offense.

•  Often the forgotten man when people talk about the best cornerbacks in the league, what Chris Harris did coming off a serious knee injury shouldn’t be overlooked. He’s right up there with the best defensive players in the league and deserves more praise.

•  David Bruton was an interesting player to look at. When he’s played, he’s actually looked like a very capable free safety, but his playing time hasn’t been consistent enough to get a true gauge on where he is.

Team Needs

Wide Receiver: Priority number one for the Broncos this offseason should be re-signing Demaryius Thomas and if that isn’t the case, they’ll need to find some help at the position via free agency or the draft. Manning has got the most out of many receivers in the past, but with his dip in play they’ll want to keep as much talent around him as possible.

Tight End: Like at wide receiver, another top priority for the Broncos this offseason should be re-signing Julius Thomas. One of the best receiving tight ends in the league, he would be a huge loss to the Broncos offense, with only the untested Dominique Jones on the roster at the position at this stage.

Defensive Line: Outside of Malik Jackson, who has developed into a fantastic player at this point in his career, there isn’t much to get excited about on the Denver defensive line. They could upgrade at both defensive end and nose tackle, but in the very least more depth is needed, with question marks beyond the starters on the depth chart.


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| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

  • Jaguars28

    They need to re-sign Terrance Knighton, and get completely healthy. Then they’ll be a Super Bowl contender again.

    • Chris

      It all depends on if Peyton can actually play. Was his poorer play down the stretch really the result of a leg injury? If he can regain some of his earlier form and they bring back Demaryius and Big Julius, the offense will be as unstoppable as it was before. Also agree about Knighton, they are really devoid at DL talent without him.

      This team is a SB contender if Peyton can regain prior form. If he can’t play any better than he did late in the season than he should just retire and they should implode the roster and start over.

      • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

        he’s fine, will be in MVP consideration. and i doubt we keep julius, he’s soft anyway, good riddance

      • Ned Brady

        I think it was pretty clear that Manning’s struggles at the end of the year were due to that calf injury. He no longer has a “laser rocket arm” and quite frankly hasn’t for several years now, but had just enough arm and more than enough brain to make it work. However, any quarterback lacking arm strength clearly needs to compensate by generating power elsewhere, i.e. stepping into throws. Once that was taken away by injury, Manning could no longer compensate for his Pennington-esque arm, and the ducks we saw in that playoff game were the results. Remember, Peyton was in the midst of another great season before his performance dramatically declining right around when that leg injury occurred.

        Full disclosure: I’m a Brady/Pats fan who has always respected but hated Peyton.

  • Tom Downes

    This team has way too many light green players making blue money; Ware, Clady, Talib & Sanders, although I don’t really agree with the color assigned Emmanuel Sanders.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      sanders isn’t making that much actually, 3 year 15mm deal is super fair

      • Tom Downes

        Actually $5 mil average is a lot for a slot/wideout.

        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          101 rec., 1404 yards, and 9 TDs…….. get real dude

          • Tom Downes

            Get out of your mom’s basement…dude

          • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

            you win, so troll, much hurt.

  • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

    no red, i’m happy. will look a lot better when we franchise tag DT too

    • Tom Downes

      Per Chris above, if Peyton cannot play to his previous high level this project will need to be blown up and it won’t be pretty. I’m a Pat’s fan and the screaming for Belichick to team build to Brady’s window has been deafening, but it’s not happening and he churns out 11-5 and 12-4 seasons like there’s no tomorrow. If Brady lasts until he’s 50, he’ll be part of it, if not, someone else will.

      • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

        blown up? no.

        • SeattleSteve

          Denial… that cap situation ole Horseface got you in …lol, enjoy being the decade’s new Raiders.

          • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

            cap situation??? lol, oh you’re a noob i see. we have over 20 mil in room this year and over 50 mil 2016. if peyton retires or is cut we’d have over 40 mil in 2015 alone.

            seattle been playing with a qb who’s cap is under 1mil, thats changing, very soon too

          • Tom Downes

            Not sure where your cap info is coming from. A bunch of the cap websites I see have the numbers you cite, but that’s because they don’t include the guys with no contract: Thomas, Thomas, Welker, Knighton, Franklin, et al. The year after that comes Miller and I think Sanders. Your $20 mil space this year is gone if they sign both Thomas’s and a backup.

          • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

            that’s how cap space works, lol. it doesn’t count players who aren’t signed…..

          • Tom Downes

            You, sir are missing the point. Yes you have $20 mil in cap space, but you also do not have a third of your starters from last year under contract. Just resigning DThomas will take up almost half of that, unless Elway creates more of a chasm between cap dollars and actual dollars and pushes this cap situation to biblical proportions

          • AC

            They got 26m in cap space with the expected rise of the salary cap. It could be a little more than that, even. That’s before any cap casualties such as Caldwell or Ramirez are cut.

            They got a couple big players in FA this year : Franklin, Knighton, Moore, and the two Thomases. Those are the only major contributors. Julius Thomas is gone, but they have enough money to sign atleast 3 of those players (DT, Moore, and either Knighton or Franklin) if they chose to plus other players like Virgil Green and Nate Irving.

            After that, Peyton is gone. That gives them money to sign other key players who have contracts coming up : Miller, Jackson, Wolfe, Trevathan, etc.

            The Broncos are fairly well of in terms of cap space. They’ll have the money to keep a strong core after Manning is gone. It’s gonna be hard when he goes, but they’ll still have a very talented roster when he does.

          • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

            stick to golf dude

          • bobrulz

            I wouldn’t bring back Welker, he’s toast. I’m still on the fence about Julius Thomas. He’s a huge red zone threat, but he’s an awful blocker and hasn’t shown much versatility. He’s certainly not a bad player, but I don’t think he’ll be worth the money he’s likely to command on the open market. I’d much rather re-sign Jacob Tamme and Virgil Green for cheap and draft a new player, unless J. Thomas proves not to be too expensive of course.

          • Tom Downes

            I wouldn’t bring him back either unless it was real short money, he’s one more concussion away from retirement. If you are a Bronco’s fan, don’t you worry this whole thing is going to be a big mess soon? If last year is any indication, Manning is really gaining on the end of his career.

          • bobrulz

            I am worried about Manning coming back another year, but I think the team is pretty talented across the board, and Elway has been great in free agency so far for the most part. He’s also managed the cap quite well. As far as drafting goes (which is of course how all great dynasties are sustained), it’s still too soon to determine.

            And if Manning really was mediocre because of the injury more than anything, then I think he should come back another year. He was excellent in the first half of the season still. I don’t think he’s done yet but we’ll see after another year. I would be more worried about the switch to Kubiak – as a Bronco I do love him, but I worry that he’s just not as good of a coach as John Fox even. He clearly got the job because of experience and connections, not credentials. But I’m willing to give him a chance.

          • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

            well said bob

          • Tom Downes

            Kubiak brings that cut blocking run scheme that DLinemen and Backers just hate, because they spend a lot of time avoiding those chop and barrel roll blocks at the line of scrimmage. Denver may need to rely on the run game more with Manning a year older and a few other parts going to free agency.

          • cjfarls

            Denver’s cap situation is difficult only because it has a bunch of young good players that will want new deals in the next few years, but that is hardly a problem teams will complain about… It makes for some tough decisions on who to keep and who to let go, but none seem insurmountable and that is why teams must constantly refresh through the draft (J.Thomas, Moore, M.Jackson, Wolfe, Roby, Franklin, etc.), and relatively modest FA signings which Elway has excelled at (e.g. Sanders, Brandon Marshall, etc.). If they can’t refresh, they will fall… but that can be said about every single team in the NFL.

            Even keeping Manning this year, they will be able to bring back the vast majority of their FAs if they want with over $25m available, not even counting cutting overpaid folks like Manny Ramirez/Andre Caldwll/Colquitt. Next year or the following, Manning’s contract will be gone, and Ware’s/Talib’s/Clady’s will be easily jettisonable (with basically no dead money) if they don’t return to elite form. There is a slight bottle neck this year that is still totally manageable with Manning still around and DT needing paid, but it basically goes away next year which also gives a ton of flexibility if they want to push a little caphit off for a year or 2.

  • AJ

    Is there really not enough on Paul Cornick to give him a color? I don’t know his snap count, but he appeared in and started a decent number of games.

    Also, it seems like Ryan Clady’s play has fallen off just as dramatically as Manning’s. I guess that injury in 2013 was more serious than I thought.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      clady’s injury was very serious. he broke his foot, man. also battled thru a shoulder and thigh injury in 2014.

      cornick only started one game, but he did play a lot as a tight end

  • davathon

    Denver should trade for Mike Wallace. He’d be lethal with Peyton Manning. 1,500+ yards, 10+ TDs easily. Dolphins are trying to dump him.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      his contract makes a trade for him not worth it. eman sanders is better and cheaper already, plus there is cody latimer waiting in the wings

  • Chris

    Given how much you also talk about a player’s past seasons to not rank them low, such as PPeterson being very good, Peyton Manning is ranked as only very good. Even if it was the second half or final quarter of the season. Don’t necessarily disagree with the ranking though given the decline with age and injury.

  • DLane

    DThomas should be priority number one and mb adding DL or OL , Julius is a great player but hes gonna be asking for a nice penny and i dont think it will be worth it. esp under the cap situation and his knee troubles.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi


  • AC

    what’s it gonna take to put Derek Wolfe as atleast average? Seriously. His job, as it has been the past two years, is to shut down the run. He did that well this year. He doesn’t get put into situations to rush the passer often, so yeah his pass rush grade will be low. He’s usually playing 4-3 DE (which obviously doesn’t play to his strength as a pass rusher – he’s 290 LBs) and on top of that he’s often two gapping, even in passing situations. He’s at least an average player, and in regards to Denver’s scheme – he’s probably a light green. There’s a reason why every year he’s been here he’s played one of the highest amount of snaps of any Denver DLineman.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      right, his job was to free up von, which he does well

  • Alfredo Cota

    How has Orlando Franklin performed last season?

  • Rembrandt Q. Einstein

    Just so you’re aware, John Elway told the team website that Michael Schofield is being looked at as a right tackle.