Four seasons have gone by in which the Broncos have yet to get back to the playoffs. There’s one real reason that has caused the Broncos to fail. That’s the lack of depth on their roster.
You would think with how bad the Broncos have been that they would have plenty of really good first-round picks on this roster, but that’s not the case. Since John Elway has joined the Denver front office, he has re-signed only one first-round pick. That’s Von Miller.
Miller will now miss the entire 2020 season after suffering ankle injury earlier this week in practice. The issue now is who is behind Miller on the depth chart.
Bradley Chubb will play on the opposite side rushing the quarterback, but after him, it’s going to be Malik Reed and Jeremiah Attaochu. Those two combined for a total of 5.5 sacks last season. This is going to force the Broncos to go out and have to sign another veteran pass rusher.
Let’s look at the rest of this roster.
The Broncos released middle linebacker Todd Davis last week, as well. This puts the Broncos down to just Alexander Johnson and Josey Jewell as experienced players in the middle of the defense. Johnson has showed some promise, but it’s clear he’s not a Pro Bowl-type player. Jewell has yet to show any promise after he was replaced last year to Johnson. The Broncos continued to address the middle linebacker position year after year with their struggles of covering the tight end. Now, they went out and signed Mark Barron. Well, he’s hurt and will be questionable for Monday night’s game with a hamstring injury.
Denver will have a lack of talent at the middle linebacker position if Barron can’t go Monday night.
Another area that’s a concern that has no depth is the cornerback position. Denver traded for A.J. Bouye, but let Chris Harris Jr. walk away in free agency. Bryce Callahan was acquired last offseason, but missed all of 2019 with a foot injury. He’s expected to be 100 percent entering this season, but it’s hard to believe that until we see that.
Another question is where will Callahan play, on the outside or in the slot? He’s one of the better slot corners in the NFL, but with the lack of depth in the secondary, it’s unclear who will play opposite of Bouye. It could be unproven corner Davontae Harris or rookie Michael Ojemudia. The bottom line is this position group can’t be this uncertain.
The final and most important area of concern is the lack of depth on the offensive line.
Left tackle Garett Bolles has shown no promise protecting the blindside of Drew Lock. Ja’Wuan James was supposed to play right tackle, but opted out this season. It’s safe to say that James probably wouldn’t have finished the season anyways because he refuses to fight through injuries.
Denver refused to move up in the draft for an offensive tackle, which means they will start Bolles and Elijah Wilkinson at the tackle positions. Bolles has led the league in penalties multiple years and Wilkinson has arguably played worse than Bolles in pass protection.
Denver has not done well in free agency, with the failing to hit on their draft picks and refusing to pay their own players, this has forced the Broncos to not be competitive. If this team isn’t 100 percent healthy and deep on the roster, the chances of them making the playoffs is slim to none this season.
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