5 Denver Broncos Starters Who Must Be Replaced in 2012

Clint DalyContributor IIFebruary 13, 2012

5 Denver Broncos Starters Who Must Be Replaced in 2012

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    The Denver Broncos' 2011 season was filled with highs and lows.

    There were games when the offense looked great.

    There were games when the defense looked solid.

    Then there were games like the divisional playoff loss to New England when the entire team looked bad.

    This is clearly a team that has some needs. Some of the current players need to be replaced with better talent.

    Here are five starters who need to be replaced if the Denver Broncos are going to improve.

5. Andre' Goodman

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    Andre' Goodman had a mediocre year in 2012. He recorded 49 tackles but just two interceptions.

    That doesn't sound bad, but keep in mind that he is thrown at more than most cornerbacks because most teams prefer to keep away from Champ Bailey.

    Goodman has been a good player over the course of his 10-year career, but it may be time to find someone to replace him long term.

    Goodman isn't getting any younger, and Chris Harris just finished his rookie year and looks like he may be the heir apparent.

4. Eddie Royal

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    I love Eddie Royal. He is a great return man and can provide some boost as a fourth or fifth wide receiver.

    He just isn't a top-three wide receiver on many NFL teams.

    At 5'10" and just 185 pounds, he is a little undersized, but this is far more about production than size. He finished the 2011 season with just 19 catches and one touchdown.

    I do still think he can be a productive player with the Broncos.

    I just think it needs to be on special teams and a handful of offensive plays.

3. Joe Mays

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    The Broncos need a highly intelligent, extremely athletic middle linebacker.

    Joe Mays is a scrappy player who finished the season with 75 tackles, but the Broncos run defense wasn't always great. Mays finished the season with zero sacks—that's fine, he must be dropping into pass coverage, right? Passes defended: two.

    The Broncos gave up over 2,000 yards in the rushing game and a good portion of that starts with the middle linebacker.

    This is a position that definitely needs an upgrade.

2. Robert Ayers

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    Defensive end Robert Ayers shows potential, but as the old saying goes, potential will get a head coach fired.

    The Broncos have a nice pass-rush at times with Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller on one side.

    Now they need another quarterback chaser on the other side.

    Ayers has shown flashes. It just isn't consistent.

    Just like the Broncos defense.

1. Eric Decker

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    I am a big Eric Decker fan.

    He seems like a hard worker and a pretty good guy.

    This isn't a knock on Eric Decker. He finished the season with 44 catches and eight touchdowns. He can clearly compete and be productive.

    Eric Decker is just not a No. 1 wide receiver. A very solid slot receiver? Definitely.

    The Broncos have got to go get a big-time No. 1 threat at this position.