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NFL 2024 Team Breakdown: Denver Broncos

The third team in our 2024 overview is the Denver Broncos. So far this offseason, they've added to positions that needed attention, but is it enough to improve upon last year's record? Probably not, but this is still a fun team nonetheless, even if they rank out as 30th overall.


Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

 

Strengths


  1. Front 7 Depth

  2. Versatile Wide Receiver Room

  3. Underrated Secondary


Although there is no clear-cut dawg on the defensive front or in the linebacking corps, the depth is undeniable. There are about 5 defensive tackles, 4 edge rushers, and 3 linebackers who can contribute on any given snap at a decent level. Drew Sanders would have provided some nice flexibility at LB and edge, but a torn Achilles will keep him sidelined for most of 2024.


Similar to the Titans, this receiving room has a ton of juice. Courtland Sutton is your bonified WR1, Josh Reynolds is a solid possession option, Marvin Mims Jr will provide big chunk plays, and if Tim Patrick can come back healthy, he'll be a great red zone option. Add rookie Troy Franklin, who boasts speed, good route running, and nice YAC ability, this WR room will attack all three levels of the field at a high level.


Outside of Pat Surtain II, there are some young studs who have the ability to restore the No Fly Zone identity this team had a decade ago. Ja'Quan McMillian is a fiery nickel who blitzes and defends the run at a high level, Brandon Jones will provide rangy over the top coverage, and Kris Abrams-Draine will compete for starting snaps inside and outside. They're young, but they could be a top 12 unit when this season's over.


Weaknesses


  1. Subpar Offensive Line and No Depth

  2. No Defensive Superstar

  3. Crowded RB Room with Similar Traits


Despite spending nearly a quarter of their cap on their OL, this unit has not played up to their price tag. Garett Bolles is solid - but aging, Mike McGlinchey has been bad in pass protection the past two seasons, Ben Powers struggled his first year away from an elite Baltimore OL, and Luke Wattenberg has been poor in the minimal playing time he's gotten. Quinn Meinerz is the only viable long-term option on the front, as he's improved nicely every season. If one of those guys goes down, it'll get even worse.


Yes, PS2 is not a superstar. He is good, and was great his sophomore season, but one nearly elite season and two just above average ones does not earn you the superstar tag. With that being said, this defense will need to lean on him again, and he'll have to produce like he did in 2022.


I'm all for running back committees, but when you have no real variety in skillsets, it's a waste of roster spots. Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, and Audric Estimé are all bulky, downhill runners with minimal receiving chops, and Jaleel McLaughlin brings some elusiveness, but nothing else to threaten a defense. The Audric pick was extremely puzzling, especially considering there were RBs with more receiver skills still available.


Key Additions


  1. Bo Nix - Quarterback

  2. John Franklin-Myers - Defensive Line

  3. Kris Abrams-Draine - Cornerback


Was spending a 12th overall pick on Nix egregious? For sure, but there was no way the Broncos were gonna roll out Jarrett Stidham as their starter Week 1. Nix will fit in nicely to Sean Payton's offense, and should be their immediate starter once training camps gets rolling.


JFM has slowly made the transition to full time edge throughout his career, and he's been solid from that spot. Over the last four years, he's had a 13.46% pressure rate, with a 13.93% rate this past year. He'll provide great flexibility as he has the size to play inside the tackles if needed, as he's played 30.73% of his snaps in that area over the past two years.


The feisty corner out of Mizzou brings solid tools to play inside or outside. Although he tracks as a nickel, I think he can challenge Levi Wallace to become a full-time starter. I will say, despite a great 40 time, that speed didn't show up consistently on film. Granted, he played press coverage a ton in college, he won't be asked to do the same in the NFL, and should find more success as a result.


Dark Horse


Ja'Quan McMillian - Nickelback


McMillian came alive halfway through his 2nd season. Out of all corners to play over 500 snaps in the slot, he had a run defense grade of 84.7, which was the 2nd highest. In addition, he had 8 pressures on 21 blitzes which is a great rate for any defensive back regardless of the volume. He does need to improve in coverage, but that should come now that he's a full time starter out of the slot.


Photo: Gabriel Christus/Denver Broncos


Record


5-12


I don't think Bo Nix moves the needle enough to add several more wins than the rest of this roster is ready for. Given minimal depth at all offensive positions, and no clear cut alpha pass rusher, they'll have to rely on health and versatility in multiple areas. While they don't have any tough stretches throughout their schedule, they do play teams who are much healthier than a year ago, and 9 of their opponents have a good chance of making playoffs. Their absolute ceiling is 7 wins, but I think they drop a few more due to inexperience at multiple key positions.

 

Final Notes:


Similar to the Commanders, Bo Nix's development will be key for the Broncos' success. On top of that, they'll need to add more OL depth and better pass rushers to take full advantage of this coaching staff. Nix ended up in one of the better situations, especially with a coach that will know how to get the most out of his skillset.



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