Click here to return to the 2023 Reports List
Denver Broncos April Scouting Report
No team was more afflicted by the injury bug in 2022 than the Denver Broncos.
Denver stood alone in terms of just how many quality players were injured. In adjusted games lost, the Broncos were in the bottom 10 each of the last four seasons. Hence, the new direction direction in strength and training in 2023 (Dan Dalrymple).
Denver is receiving calls on WR Courtland and WR Jerry Jeudy. The Broncos may appear willing to trade Sutton, Jeudy, and KJ Hamler at a high asking price, but they don’t seem interested in moving them. Top Needs: 1. Right tackle 2. Center 3. Left Guard 4. Defensive Line 5. Wide Receiver 6. Running Back 7. Backup QB 8. Linebacker 9. Tight End 10. Full Back. Put in any order you want.
Cuts: G/C Graham Glasgow, CB Ronald Darby, RB Chase Edmonds. $6m dead cap; $24.3M savings. $33M cap space (3/11/23).
The Broncos are paying market value for big-name free agents, addressing their biggest needs immediately and aggressively. The Broncos are spending 33% more than the rest of the NFL. With the present draft picks, Denver will need $986,167 to sign them.
WR Lil'Jordan Humphrey 6’4 225. Humphrey is a good football player who doesn’t fit the mold for a certain position. Similar to classic Bronco possession receivers Sutton and Patrick.
OG Ben Powers. Powers is a technically sound player who was a great pass protector and solid run blocker for the Baltimore Ravens. He is a younger free agent with upside to be a long-term starter.
ORT Mike McGlinchey. McGlinchey was part (starter) of the well-oiled machine in San Francisco, but SF had higher priorities in free agency. He brings some power in the running game with good athleticism to get out in space. He will be relied upon to be a consistent presence at the position.
QB Jarrett Stidham. Stidham will be a true contingency plan backup (with some upside) to Russell Wilson and could be a potential bridge quarterback if Wilson doesn’t return to form. He is reuniting with Broncos QBs coach Davis Webb.
ILB Alex Singleton. Singleton was a key piece (leading tackler) of the 2022 defense and earned himself a three-year deal. Singleton will attack the run and play solid football.
TE Chris Manhertz. Manhertz is 6’6" 256 and a tremendous blocking tight end (running game, pass protection) who will fill the primary blocking tight end role.
DE Zach Allen. Allen will reunite with DC Vance Joseph, who will know how to properly use him on the defensive front.
RB Samaje Perine. Perine, 28 5’4 240 is a power back and who compliments a slasher type back (draft need). He is a physical runner who can handle a big work load and is an immediate short yardage and goal-line back for the Broncos.
FB Mike Burton. Burton reunites with Payton and is all ready familiar with Payton’s offense. He may also play special teams.
CB/KR Tremon Smith. Smith (4.32/40) will compete with WR Montrell Washington for kick return duties and serve as a backup boundary corner back.
S PJ Locke. Locke returns for his fifth season with Denver mostly as a core special teams player.
DB: Essang Bassey. Bassey is special teams help and secondary depth.
P: Riley Dixon. Dixon is a former Broncos draft pick and eight year veteran with a career 45.8-yard gross average.
WR Marquez Callaway. Former Saints wide receiver, 6’2 204, had his best season under Payton.
RB Tony Jones, Jr. Jones is 5’ 11 224 and a physical, downhill runner like Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine.
C Kyle Fuller 6’5 307. It remains to be seen if Fuller will be a starter or depth player.
FB Andrew Beck. DE Dre’Mont Jones. RB Mike Boone. OT Calvin Anderson. TE Eric Saubert. DL DeShawn Williams. LS Jacob Bobenmoyer.
Official Draft Picks (Starts: April 27, 2023)
Round 3, No. 67 overall (from Indianapolis)
Round 3, No. 68 overall
Round 4, No. 108 overall
Round 5, No. 139 overall
Round 6, No. 195 overall (from Pittsburgh)
It will be interesting to see what Denver does in the draft as they aggressively addressed needs in the first wave of free agency. Payton has a solid track record of finding impact players in the third round.
Potential Draft upgrades at wide receiver: Rashee Rice, SMU; A.T. Perry, Wake Forest; Trey Palmer, Nebraska. Other Draft prospects: TE Payne Durham, Purdue; Tyjae Spears, Tulane; Deuce Vaughn, K. St.; S Gervarrius Owens, Houston; S Chamarri Conner, Va. Tech.; C/G Jake Andrews, Troy; C Olusegun Oluwatimi, Michigan; C Luke Wypler, Ohio State; Edge Felix Anudike-Uzomah, K. ST.; OT Wanya Morris, Ok; QB Sean Clifford, Penn St.; LB DeMarvion Overshown, Texas; TE Tucker Kraft, So Dak ST: TE Luke Schoonmaker, Mic; TE Sam LaPorte, Iowa.;TE Luke Musgrave, Oregon ST.
67 Jaelyn Duncan OT Maryland
68 Keeanu Benton DT Wisconsin
108 Kendre Miller RB TCU
139 Bryce Ford-Wheaton WR West Virginia
195 Max Duggan QB TCU
Sean Payton’s offense will be a work in progress as he moves toward his preferred "spread/power" concept. It will start with the run game to open up things for Wilson. Payton likes to use two backs, with one being the thumper who sets up all the play-action, bootlegs and naked boots. This means that the offensive line needs to be not only powerful, but also athletic to get to the second level of the defense. With a likely emphasis on running in 2023, look for Denver to upgrade the running back room. The biggest challenges for Russell Wilson will be staying (playing) on script. No more doing what he's use to-improvising, hitching two/three times, then using his legs to get out of trouble looking for someone down field. He will have to hit his back foot and get the ball out of his hands.
Payton likes to utilize a heavy variety of weapons to run his matchup -based offense. He has two good possession WRs Courtland Sutton (think Michael Thomas)and Tim Patrick, (blue collar), plus the explosive route-running WR Jerry Jeudy for play makers at receiver. However, his receivers lack speed. Denver needs an Art Briles approach to receivers: speed and a willingness to block. What Payton’s offense needs is a Marques Colston type player, with three-level and multiple formation location ability, who can stretch the seam and run vertical routes.
The Broncos’ top three cornerback spots seem to be locked down for 2023: Pat Surtain and Damarri Mathis on the outside and K’Waun Williams playing in the slot. However, they could use some budget free agent veteran depth behind the top three.
There is no interior pass rusher of Dre’Mont Jones’ quality on the free-agent market, but there are interior defensive linemen who could be on the board when the Broncos finally make the 67th pick in the Draft: Wisconsin’s Keeanu Benton and West Virginia’s Dante Stills.
As the VP of Player Health and Performance, Lowery could be the injury plagued Broncos most important hire. Drew Brees: "Beau Lowery added years onto my career."
Hired Isaac Shewmaker as defensive quality control coach; Signed possession WR Lil'Jordan Humphrey 6’4 225. Tendered ERFAs: ILB Jonas Griffith, OL Quinn Bailey and P Corliss Waitman. Waived WRs Victor Bolden and Freddie Swain. Waived CB Lamar Jackson. Released OLB Wyatt Ray. With drew ER tender to P Corliss Waitman. WR K.J. Hamler underwent surgery for a partially torn pec; recovery timeline is four to six months (start of training camp in late July). Hired Joe Vitt as Senior Defensive Assistant. Hired Jamar Cain DL/pass rush specialist.
Denver's voluntary offseason program will begin April 11:
All three Phases of the offseason program are voluntary.
Phase I: Two weeks limited to strength and conditioning activities.
Phase II: two weeks-Denver may run individual drills and "perfect play" drills/all coaches on the field .
Voluntary minicamp- April 24-26.
Phase III- OTAs, Begin May 24. 10 OTA practices, no contact seven-on-seven, nine-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills. Denver's OTAs are May 23-25, May 30-June 1, June 5-8. The final phase of the offseason program is a mandatory minicamp a practice and walk through on the same day. Denver's minicamp is June 13-15. The Broncos will then break for the summer before returning to training camp.
There were a number of things that Denver didn't do a good job with in2022. Improvement will begin with a lot of sweat in Phase 1.
This year could be the end for QB Russell Wilson (35) in Denver if he doesn’t perform like a top 10 quarterback, especially now with young Jarrett Stidham, who has significant upside, on board. Wilson underwent a "minor" arthroscopic procedure after the 2022 season for a knee issue he’s had for a few years. George Paton’s days may also be numbered depending on how he handles free agency and particularly the draft.
The Broncos opened the free agency "tampering period" like a team with limited draft capital and the League’s wealthiest owners
The focus was on offense and improving the rushing game, where on paper, they have an improved offensive line and back up quarterback. They have a solid signing duo in the backfield (RB&FB) and a blocking tight end. It looks like power football is back in Denver with this power-based makeover. Look for Denver to feature a lot if 12 (1RB 2TE) and 21 (2RB 1TE) looks.
The Bill Parcell’s tree (Payton) follows their mentor’s lead: The first, easiest place to make an impact on a struggling team and turn it around is on special teams. Payton has special teams guru Mike Westhoff on staff , along with coordinator Ben Kotwica, and signed proven kick returner/gunner (24.7 career average) Tremon Smith to help win games. FB Mike Burton, TE Chris Manhertz, ILB Alex Singleton and WR Lil’Jordon Humphrey insure the special teams will be better in 2023.
The Definitive Fantasy Information Service
2023 Madness NFL Rookie Draft Reference Guide
Monday, April 24th, 2023
Premium Pro Bowl and Super Bowl Package Subscribers take note. The time has come. The 2023 Madness NFL Rookie Draft Reference Guide has been released for your viewing pleasure. This
Read the Full Mastermind MomentTweets by @FFMastermind