We are just past the two-month mark until the NFL regular-season begins and I could not, COULD NOT, be more excited for this season. Every offseason seems to get longer and longer to the point where we scrape the bottom barrels for any last drops of something football-related to help ease our minds and pass the time. I’ve recently gotten interested in the Canadian Football League and maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.....it’s pretty cool, but obviously not the same. If you want to be reminded of college football players you forgot about fromm the late 2000’s, it might be the sport for you.
Anyways, it’s been a fairly eventful offseason within the AFC West and I thought I would catch everybody up on what has happened so far while providing some previews of the division before training camp gets underway.
First up on the docket, the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos are headed into the 2018 season with some new faces gracing the offensive side of the ball. Wide receiver Courtland Sutton (6-3 220, SMU) and running back Royce Freeman (6-0 229, Oregon) were selected in the second and third rounds, respectively, and look to bring some dynamic talent to an offense that seemed more stagnant than not this past year.
On day three, the Broncos also selected former Penn State route-technician DaeSean Hamilton and Wisconsin tight end Troy Fumagalli. Both should add solid depth to the receiving-corps.
The biggest change, however, happens to be free agent quarterback Case Keenum who now takes over behind center. Keenum, who threw for 3,547 yards and 22 touchdowns for the Vikings last year, will look to inject some life back into a Denver offense that has lost some spunk since The Sheriff hung up his cleats.
Look for the offensive line to gel and have increased productivity as the only change to the front-five is the addition of former-Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle Jared Veldheer. Veldheer will likely anchor the right tackle position as 2016 first-round pick Garrett Bolles will have blindside duties all to himself.
The Broncos already have one of the fiercest pass rushes in the entire NFL. Even when future hall-of-famer DeMarcus Ware retired, younger players Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett were there to fill the void. But after the selection of North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb, the consensus top EDGE rusher in the draft, the Broncos’ look to reclaim one of the spots among the leagues best EDGE duos.
At the second level, they bring back linebackers Todd Davis and Brandon Marshall to be the heart of the defense. Add in Josey Jewell, the All-American linebacker from the University of Iowa, and you have the makings of an up-and-coming front seven.
Chris Harris remains one of the best cornerbacks in the league and Bradley Roby is no slouch, himself. Former 2016 third-round pick Justin Simmons has laid claim as the top safety on the team and will be joined by incumbent starter at free safety Darian Stewart as the group looks to continue the vaunted No-Fly Zone at Mile High
Brandon McManus returns as the team’s kicker but don’t be surprised to see them bring in some competition. After signing a recent extension, McManus went on to miss eight kicks in 2017, including 3 between 20-39 yards.
Marquette King was signed soon after his surprise release by the Raiders following the hire of Jon Gruden as their head coach. Oakland’s loss looks to be Denver’s gain as King is an instant upgrade over Riley Dixon who underwhelmed in his time with the Broncos.
What do you guys expect from the Broncos this season? Will they take a step forward or back? Let us know in the comment section.