5 Most Exciting Denver Broncos Position Battles to Keep an Eye on This Summer

Clint DalyContributor IIApril 6, 2012

5 Most Exciting Denver Broncos Position Battles to Keep an Eye on This Summer

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    The Denver Broncos have made some big changes this offseason.

    The draft is still coming up, but the roster is beginning to take shape.

    So what positions will have the most competition this summer?

    The quarterbacks are all brand new.

    The receiving corps has a different look.

    The defense is trying to fill in some holes and improve on the previous season.

    Here are five positions that are going to have some heated competition before the team ever even hits the field.

5. Safety

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    Quinton Carter had a very productive rookie season for the Denver Broncos in 2011. Drafted in the fourth round out of Oklahoma, Carter recorded 41 tackles as he found himself getting more and more playing time due to injuries.

    That was the good news at the safety position for the Broncos.

    Brian Dawkins struggled with a nagging injury to his neck and missed significant time.

    Rahim Moore was also drafted in 2011, but Moore seemed to struggle with assignments as well as his health.

    The Broncos also have three-year veteran David Bruton who wound up as a starter down the stretch.

    The Broncos went and signed former Cleveland Browns safety Mike Adams as a free agent.

    Adams is an eight-year pro who should bring some experience to what is a very young group.

    Who will the starters be? My money is on Carter and Adams. But Moore and Bruton should push for playing time as well.

4. Defensive Line

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    The Denver Broncos defensive line struggled at times in 2011.

    Sure, Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller registered 21 sacks combined, but the unit as a whole was inconsistent.

    They allowed over 126 yards rushing per game, and aside from Miller and Dumervil, they were largely irrelevant.

    This group has actually been even more depleted so far this offseason.

    Brodrick Bunkley has departed for New Orleans.

    Derrick Harvey is now a Bengal.

    Ty Warren should be back, and the Broncos have tendered an offer to Ryan McBean.

    Expect the Broncos to use at least one of their draft picks on a defensive lineman.

    Robert Ayers, Marcus Thomas, Jason Hunter, Jeremy Beal and Kevin Vickerson will all be battling for a position.


3. Wide Receiver

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    The wide receiver position is one that didn't have much interest at the end of the 2011 season. The Broncos ranked No. 1 in rushing yards per game but just No. 31 in passing.

    Add Peyton Manning to the mix, and that has changed very quickly.

    The Broncos will return Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Matt Willis should be back as well.

    Eddie Royal is gone, having signed a contract with division rival San Diego.

    The Broncos have gone out and signed a few more players to add some depth.

    Jason Hill is now a Bronco, coming from Jacksonville.

    Andre Caldwell comes over from Cincinnati where he caught 37 passes and three touchdowns last year.

    Look for Denver to try to bring in another wide receiver through the draft.

    Thomas is clearly the most talented player on the roster, but who will become Manning's favorite target has yet to be determined.

2. Cornerback

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    Future Hall of Famer Champ Bailey looks to be as good as ever.

    He finished the 2011 season with 39 tackles, 10 passes defended and two interceptions, despite rarely being challenged.

    Andre Goodman on the other side looked to be showing his age a little more so than Bailey.

    The Broncos have a few players that are eager to break into the starting lineup.

    Rookie Chris Harris was a pleasant surprise in 2011, and Cassius Vaughn and SydQuan Thompson both show flashes of play-making ability.

    The Broncos also signed Tracy Porter from the New Orleans Saints.

    That leaves five players for one starting position with the others vying for nickel and dime playing time.

    The cornerback position will definitely be a battle worth watching.

1. Tight End

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    Another position that didn't have much interest until the signing of Peyton Manning.

    But we know that Manning likes to utilize the tight end position. He made Dallas Clark an all-pro.

    Former NFL players Ken Dilger and Marcus Pollard also benefited from playing with Manning.

    The Broncos currently have five tight ends on their roster.

    Returning from last year are Virgil Green and Julius Thomas. These two combined for four catches for 29 yards in 2011.

    New to Denver are Cornelius Ingram, Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen who all signed as free agents.

    Tamme and Dreessen combined for 47 catches, 552 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011 by comparison.

    The Broncos have some very talented players at the tight end position. It's going to be fun to watch who will get the playing time.