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What Would Charles Woodson Bring to Denver?

Posted May 14, 2013

Charles Woodson will reportedly visit Broncos headquarters this week. What makes the veteran defensive back a good fit?

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Four thoughts on the Broncos’ reported interest in former Packers defensive back Charles Woodson, who is apparently set to visit team headquarters this week:

1. At the minimum, the Broncos could still use depth. Last year’s primary backup, Jim Leonhard, is not an option, having signed a free-agent contract with the New Orleans Saints in April.  Although Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway told 5,000 season-ticket holders last week that “we feel pretty good” about the safety complement, he didn’t close the door on adding more:

“We’re always looking, and we're not totally done with anything,” Elway said. “We're always looking to improve our team, and if there's a safety or somebody we see out there that can help us, then I think we do something there.”

Woodson’s strength at safety is in pass coverage, which you’d expect from a recently converted cornerback. According to ProFootballFocus’ metrics, Woodson graded above returning starter Mike Adams in that area of his game last year, but was slightly lower against the run.

2. In regards to depth, health is still a concern for Quinton Carter, who is attempting to return from microfracture surgery he underwent last year. Although the procedure’s technology and recovery rates have advanced since Terrell Davis had it in an unsuccessful attempt to return, there are still obvious questions over whether Carter will still possess the same range that he had prior to his injury.

If the Broncos add Woodson, there’s no question about their depth at safety; with David Bruton also around, they’ll have at least two experienced second-teamers, whether Carter is healthy or not.

3. More leadership is always welcome. Especially on defense, where the Broncos are looking for new leaders to help point the way in the wake of Elvis Dumervil’s departure. Champ Bailey and Wesley Woodyard have been and will almost certainly remain captains (although Woodyard is technically a special-teams captain, he doesn’t remove the “C” patch when he plays defense).

Woodson could also prove to be another vital mentor for all young defensive backs, along with Bailey. The Broncos think they have a group that could represent a future secondary lineup with Chris Harris, 2012 fourth-round pick Omar Bolden, rookie Kayvon Webster and 2011-drafted safeties Moore and Carter, among others. Having another potential Hall of Famer as a sounding board couldn’t hinder their progress.

4. Finally, what does Woodson want?

His first team, the Raiders, has reportedly shown interest, and a chance to complete the circle on his career by returning to Oakland could prove enticing, especially since he already has a world championship in his back pocket. But the Raiders are using this year to give young players heavy playing time, are expected to give quarterback Matt Flynn his first full-time starting gig and are purging the roster of dead salary-cap money so they can pursue free agents in future years.

Does Woodson want to be on the ground floor of a rebuilding plan – where he would almost certainly start – or would he rather go for one more championship ring, with no guarantee of substantial playing time? The answer to this question, above all else, might determine his landing spot.