Written by Madison Kerley and posted on isportweb’s website on December 25th, 2016
After a Super Bowl victory in February 2016 and a 4-0 start to the 2016 season, fans of the Denver Broncos probably had some hope of back-to-back Super Bowls, but after going 4-6 in the next 10 games and slowly falling out of the playoff picture many fans want to fast forward to the 2017 NFL draft.
The question now is what do the Broncos need to fix before next season and can the draft fix that?
Offense should the first item on the Broncos’ list of things to fix. Some say the offensive struggles started with Peyton Manning’s retirement or with losing Brock Osweiler to a $72 million contract with the Houston Texans. Others are saying the offense is just in a transitional stage, but no matter what the problem is it is obvious the offense does not keep up with the team’s defense.
The strong defense was evident in the Broncos’ latest 16-3 loss to the New England Patriots on Dec. 18. The Patriots are a team averaging slightly under 30 points a game, and the Denver defense was able to hold the Patriots to just 16.
In that same game the Denver offense scored a whopping zero points, but it is interesting because the Broncos had 309 total yards, only four less than the Patriots. The Broncos showed weakness on the ground, rushing for only 58 yards. Other offensive weaknesses for the Broncos were four sacks for 31 lost yards, two fumbles, and one interception. Another obvious weakness was their inability to score. These weaknesses are all major issues for the Broncos offense, and to fix them John Elway and the Denver front office need some serious focus on the offense during the offseason.
Much of that focus should be on the 10 picks the Broncos have in the 2017 draft, five of which are in top 100. Strengthening the offensive line, increasing rushing yards, and limiting turnovers could all start with the decisions made in the draft.
One position that needs work is at offensive guard. A top pick for this position for the Broncos would be Dan Feeney from Indiana. Standing at 6-foot-4 inches tall and weighing 310 pounds, Feeney’s 2016 season was tainted with injury but he still made 2016 All-Big Ten first team and was named a 2016 Associated Press first team All-American.
Another strong pick would be Reuben Foster, an inside linebacker from Missouri. Foster is 6-foot-1 inch and weighs 244 pounds. In the 2016 season, he had 94 tackles including 12 for a loss. He also had four sacks and broke up two passes. Drafting Foster would fill the inside linebacker position that the Broncos lost when Danny Trevathan went to the Chicago Bears.
The Broncos could also pick up a strong offensive tackle in Dion Dawkins from Temple. Dawkins is 6 foot 5 inches, 318 pounds, and very athletic. His athleticism earned him a Senior Bowl invitation, many first-team honors, and the eyes of multiple NFL scouts. Picking up Dawkins would help strengthen the Broncos in a place that they need it most.
The 2017 draft class shows lots of potential in places the Broncos need it. With continuing to work with their “transitional” offense, keeping their defense strong, and grabbing some great picks in the draft, the Broncos might be back on their game sooner than some fans expect. Now it is just time to wait and see.