The Season that was….
The Sheriff’s last stand, Peyton Manning gets his second Super Bowl ring. This is how some people will remember the Denver Broncos season. It should be remembered as a strong defense carrying the Broncos through the playoffs. Von Miller’s play-off performance must rank up with the best defensive efforts all-time for an individual across a play-off series. Although Manning ended up on the bench for part of the season, the emergence of young talent was on show week in and week out of the Broncos season.
The bright spots
Von Miller – Although the play-offs was a show case of his abilities on a national stage, Miller led the team in sacks in the regular season, and wrecked havoc from the edge. He formed a tandem with Demarcus Ware which gave offensive lines fits in passing situations.
Derek Wolfe – Another talent on the defensive line that may not be known. Not only had a great season, the Broncos smartly locked him up with a contract extension.
Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders – Both wide receivers had 1,000 yard seasons (Thomas – 1304, Sanders -1135) and continued to make plays against opposition secondaries. Whoever the quarterback is next year in Denver, he will have two legitimate weapons at wide receiver.
Non first round draft pick that was a hit
The most recent draft class is a difficult one to identify a player as most of the selections out of the first round either went on IR or did not really contribute. This is on potential and a small sample size.
Ty Sambrailo – Only started three games and had rookie struggles (as most rookie offensive lineman do). He will be valuable as the broncos line is influx and will most likely be an area they look to upgrade through the draft or free agency.
Second year player who has taken the next step
Bradley Roby – Fell in the draft last year and the Broncos nabbed themselves a football player. He was considered by some experts as the best corner in the draft. He developed into a great nickel cornerback who could limit slot corners to very little production.
Tough decisions to make
The QB – With Manning riding off into the sunset and Osweiler signing a free agent contract with the Texans, who starts at quarterback? Do they go with Mark Sanchez who has led teams to the playoffs but struggled to live up to his draft hype (maybe Pete Carroll was right and he should have stayed at USC)? Do they throw Paxton Lynch to the wolves (he still needs to develop)?
Von Miller – Can they get a contract done? It is great to put a deadline on things but Miller has all the leverage in this situation. Would they really risk a one year deal where he could walk? Is Shane Ray already shown them enough to warrant playing chicken in this contract negotiation?