With free agency less than a month away and the Combine next week, it's time to start considering where the Broncos can upgrade their roster.
While simply getting healthy will improve the team in some areas where it struggled last year, there are also places where more talent and depth will help. For The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider, the top position of need is clear: offensive line.
"The Broncos could have as many as three new starters along the offensive front in 2023," Kosmider wrote. "There is no right tackle on the roster, left guard Dalton Risner is a free agent and Denver may seek an upgrade at center, where Lloyd Cushenberry and Graham Glasgow split time last season. That's to say nothing of reserve spots that need to be addressed. The Broncos allowed an NFL-high 63 sacks in 2022, and though that's not all on the offensive line — new coach Sean Payton needs to help quarterback Russell Wilson get the ball out quicker — the unit needs to be improved significantly."
In free agency, tackles Orlando Brown and Mike McGlinchey or guards Ben Powers and Nate Davis could be potential options, as they are considered the best available free agents at their positions by NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal.
In the draft, it's harder to predict the talent that will be available, as the Broncos' first pick isn't until the third round. But, Kosmider wrote, General Manager George Paton has a good track record with that round.
"The good news for the Broncos, who also have the [68th] pick, is that third-round picks have been a bright spot for Paton and his staff over the past two years," Kosmider wrote. "In 2021, Paton used third-round picks to select offensive lineman Quinn Meinerz and linebacker Baron Browning, both of whom became starters last season. In 2022, Paton drafted UCLA tight end Greg Dulcich with the team's third-round pick, and though Dulcich dealt with a nagging hamstring injury, he was the league's most explosive rookie at the position last season and figures to be a key figure in Denver's offense."
Below the Fold
As free agency speculation starts to heat up over the coming weeks, it'll be worth keeping an eye on some under-the-radar players, too. The NFL’s Next Gen Stats team pulled together a list of more than a dozen young players on the rise and "stalwart veterans" that bear watching, including Jaguars edge rusher Arden Key.
"After a disappointing rookie year with the Raiders in 2018, Key has found his footing in the league as a versatile pass rusher who can move across the line, inking successive one-year deals in San Francisco and Jacksonville," Next Gen Stats wrote. "The LSU product recorded a career-high 13.5 percent pressure rate this past season in Duval, providing a dominant Week 18 performance (nine pressures) that helped send the Jaguars to the playoffs."