The Broncos may still be flying under the radar to some degree, but not for ESPN analyst Mike Clay.
Clay named the Broncos his "team to watch" for the upcoming season, though they only rank 19th in his overall rankings.
Largely the team is buoyed by several top positional rankings, including the No. 5 safety group, the No. 7 edge rusher group, No. 8 interior defensive line, No. 8 running back group and the No. 10 off-the-ball linebacker unit.
Where the team becomes a wild card is the quarterback position, of course, which Clay deemed the "unit to watch."
"Drew Lock is one of the biggest X factors in the league this season," Clay wrote. "Denver's Vic Fangio-led defense is loaded, and GM John Elway has added a full arsenal of weapons for Lock in his second season."
If those pieces all come together and meet their lofty expectations, Denver could quickly become a contender in the league.
"The Broncos have major upside this season, but they'll go only as far as their quarterback takes them," Clay wrote. "Such is life in the NFL."
Below the Fold
In examining the hype around second-year quarterbacks, NFL.com writer Gregg Rosenthal makes an evaluation of Lock that much of Broncos Country will find agreeable. "Rookie quarterbacks stand out just by blending in," Rosenthal said. "Lock did more than that, improving the players around him after 11 games of lackluster quarterback play."
To understand the foundation of A.J. Bouye's career, you must understand how his father helped push him since he was a young boy and gave him the tools to succeed. "He knew I wasn't going to expect anything less (than full effort)," Steve Bouye told The Denver Post's Ryan O'Halloran. "I told him, 'If you do something, don't half do it because if you do, you're cheating yourself and you're cheating the game.'"