Can the Broncos Go From Worst to First in 2018? Pro Football Weekly Discusses Their Chances

There’s been plenty of buzz around the Broncos since the NFL Draft nearly two weeks ago, as many think that the turnaround for the team will be swift, and not the long drawn out process that it’s taken for the team to start winning.

Today Pro Football Weekly’s Eric Edholm put out an article ranking all eight last place teams from the 2017 season, and if there’s a chance they can make it all the way to first place in 2018.

According to the article, the Broncos have the fifth best shot to unseat the Chiefs for the Division title in 2018 – a feat that won’t come easy.

5. Denver Broncos (5-11)

When the Broncos rolled into their bye last season with a 3-1 record, including a thorough thrashing of the Cowboys and a 2-0 divisional mark, they looked like a team to be reckoned with. But a disastrous October-November freefall left the Broncos in the basement following eight straight losses, with quarterback issues the biggest — but far from the only — shortcoming.

They were a bit more competitive at season’s end, but four of their final five games came against opponents using quarterbacks who were not their teams’ starters entering training camp. Still, that likely saved head coach Vance Joseph’s job, even if he was cajoled into making some major staff changes for this season.

Denver’s offseason felt moderately productive. Case Keenum offers hope of steadiness at quarterback. There were a few other interesting veteran additions, too, including Jared Veldheer, Su’a Cravens and Marquette King. And the draft might provide two Day 1 starters in Bradley Chubb and Royce Freeman, plus a few early contributors, such as Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton, Josey Jewell and Isaac Yiadom.

What also works in their favor is the relative divisional unrest. The Raiders changed head coaches, the Chiefs swapped starting QBs and the Chargers remain in prove-it mode until they show they can win close games. On top of that, most of the Broncos’ toughest games are in Denver.

Division title? Feels like a stretch right now. But a rebound season could be in order

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Could Paxton Lynch Find New Life with the Broncos in 2018?

The Broncos’ decision not to draft a quarterback this past weekend may mean fresh life for the NFL career of former first-round pick Paxton Lynch according to Mike Klis of News 9 in Denver.

Broncos general manager told Klis that the team has definitely not given up on Lynch. “We are not kicking him to the curb,” Elway said. “He can still develop. When we drafted him two years ago, as I said, we knew it was going to take some time.” Unfortunately, the coaching staff is running out of time with Lynch as the team has only one more year to decide whether to pick up Lynch’s fifth-year option. And, barring significant injury, Lynch has no chance to win the starting job in Denver for 2018 after the team ponied up more than $25 million in guaranteed money to lure free agent QB Case Keenum.

Lynch has a rocket arm but faceplanted every time he had a chance to unseat former starter Trevor Siemian, who was so anemic in his own right that he was banished to Minnesota to be Kirk Cousins’ backup. Lynch has managed an anemic 76.7 passer rating on 128 career attempts, showing a disturbing penchant for taking sacks and failing to move the chains and he has also battled numerous injuries. While Elway is publicly supporting the QB he traded up to draft in the first round just two years ago, it cannot be a good sign that the GM said Lynch would be battling Chad Kelly-the final pick of the 2017 draft-for the right to back up Keenum. Kelly of course has great bloodlines as the nephew of Hall-of-Famer Chad Kelly but the fact that Elway considers him on equal footing and in open competition with his handpicked future franchise QB speaks volumes.

Could Royce Freeman be the Broncos Starting Running Back in 2018?

Royce Freeman had no idea the Broncos were interested in selecting him in the NFL draft, Gina Mizell of the Denver Post reports.

But the former Oregon star running back acknowledges he scoured various rosters leading up to the weekend in an effort to gauge which teams could be in the market for a running back.

The Broncos snagged Freeman in the third round and introduced him Saturday afternoon. Up next? Immediately challenging for the starting job after the Broncos released 1,000-yard rusher C.J. Anderson earlier this month.

“I am definitely coming in trying to compete,” Freeman said. “That is definitely a big factor … To contribute is definitely my No. 1 goal, however it may be.”

Broncos coach Vance Joseph described Denver’s position-group status as an open competition between Freeman, Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson. The Broncos added depth Saturday by drafting Arkansas’ David Williams in the seventh round and signing former Colorado star Phillip Lindsay as an undrafted free agent. And the physicality required to play the position means the Broncos will need two or three reliable running backs.

Broncos Earn an ‘B+’ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Broncos, who according to Kiper got an ‘B+’ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

We thought Denver might take a quarterback at No. 5, but with Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold off the board, they went best player available. Bradley Chubb is the best pass-rusher in this class by far. He’s not a perfect fit for Denver’s 3-4, but you have to find a way to get him on the field next to Von Miller. He’s too talented. The Broncos’ defense regressed in 2017 — the Rams say “thanks” for Wade Phillips — and ranked only 22nd in the league in sacks with 33. With Miller and Chubb on the field, they’ll get after quarterbacks.

Running back was one of the Broncos’ biggest needs after C.J. Anderson was released, and there weren’t many guys available at 71. Royce Freeman isn’t a big factor in the passing game, but he was the best back left on my board. He had 60 rushing touchdowns at Oregon and packs short-yardage punch at 230 pounds. John Elway & Co. took two receivers to help out new quarterback Case Keenum. Courtland Sutton (pick 40) is a big, raw target. McShay called him a “finesse” receiver, and I agree. You want to see him use his frame better to block off cornerbacks. DaeSean Hamilton (pick 113) impressed me at Senior Bowl practices and tested better at the combine than I expected. Possible steal.

Denver dealt Aqib Talib in the offseason, and I expect former first-round pick Bradley Roby to take that spot. But Isaac Yiadom (pick 99) is a solid player and big, 6-1 corner who should get snaps. I like Josey Jewell (pick 106) as a dependable two-down inside linebacker, but he doesn’t have the speed to cover running backs or tight ends. Troy Fumagalli (pick 156) could fill a role as a second or third tight end.

There’s a lot of value in this class, and Elway & Co. deserve credit for taking the best player available in spots while also filling needs.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/5 Bradley Chubb DE NC STATE
2/40 Courtland Sutton WR SMU
3/71 Royce Freeman RB OREGON
3/99 Isaac Yiadom CB BOSTON COLLEGE
4/106 Josey Jewell ILB IOWA
4/113 DaeSean Hamilton WR PENN STATE
5/156 Troy Fumagalli TE WISCONSIN
6/183 Sam Jones G ARIZONA STATE
6/217 Keishawn Bierria OLB WASHINGTON
7/226 David Williams RB ARKANSAS

Broncos Snag NC State DE Bradley Chubb with the 5th Pick in the NFL Draft

The Broncos got a steal in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday night, as NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb fell to the Broncos with the 5th overall pick.

Here’s a bio on Chubb – who comes with a lot of fanfare to the Broncos.

Football runs in the blood of the Chubb family. Bradley’s father, Aaron, was a star linebacker at Georgia. His brother, Brandon, was a very good linebacker at Wake Forest. And yes, he is related (cousin) to Georgia’s senior running back, Nick Chubb. Bradley is the most talented of them all, showing off his wares during a first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC senior season where he won the 2017 Hendricks (best defensive end) and Bronko Nagurski (best defender) Awards. He finished second in the FBS with 26 tackles for loss and lit up quarterbacks 10 times, breaking up two passes, in addition to forcing three fumbles. He had a second-team All-ACC (coaches) and team Defensive MVP junior season (22 tackles for loss ranked in the top four nationally, 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles). Chubb used his NFL size, violent hands, and relentless pressure to rack up those TFL playing on either side of the line, with only former No. 1 overall pick Mario Williams collecting more in a season for State (Chubb wore Williams’ No. 9 jersey in 2016 and 2017). He showed flashes as a sophomore, with 12 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles after contributing as a true freshman (four tackles in 11 games).

Broncos CB Chris Harris Says He’s Hoping the Team Doesn’t Draft a QB with the 5th Pick

Denver cornerback Chris Harris hopes the Broncos will not draft a quarterback with the fifth overall pick in the NFL Draft, Herbie Teope of NFL.com reports.

“Someone who’s going to come in and play,” Harris told reporters Tuesday, per The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala. “We need someone who’s going to come in and play now, so whether that be [Saquon] Barkley, [Bradley] Chubb … the guard from Notre Dame [Quenton Nelson]. One of those three guys. We know those guys can come in and play right now. Not a quarterback right now, I wouldn’t say. We’re trying to win now, man. We don’t have time to wait.”

The Broncos come off a 5-11 season after enduring a carousel of signal-callers with Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch. Siemian led the trio by appearing in 11 games with 10 starts and completing 209 of 349 pass attempts (59 percent) for 2,285 yards and 12 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. Denver traded Siemian to the Minnesota Vikings day after free agency began and brought in former Vikings quarterback Case Keenum on a two-year deal worth $36 million.

Broncos Have Gotten Calls from Three Teams About the Number Five Pick

All the predictable suspects have called the Broncos about trading into their No. 5 overall slot in the NFL Draft, Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports.

The Miami Dolphins, who have the No. 11 pick, have called. The Buffalo Bills, who have the No. 12 selection, have checked in. The Arizona Cardinals, who have the No. 15 pick, have phoned.

All three teams need a quarterback and they know the Broncos, with their No. 5 draft selection, may well be in a position to have the last of the Big 4 quarterbacks available.

The Big 4 QBs: Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen. Perhaps in that order, perhaps not.

Broncos Center Matt Paradis Inks His Second-Round Tender

Broncos center Matt Paradis is signing his second-round RFA tender today, Nicki Jhabvala of the Atlantic reports. This according to a source.

His tender is worth $2.9 million.

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