UPDATE (1:41 p.m. ET): Contrary to what the article states, Demaryius Thomas will be a free agent in 2015, not 2014 (h/t to Randy Schwimmer for pointing that out in the comments). Rookies usually sign four-year deals, but in 2010, Thomas signed a five-year contract, keeping him in Denver through 2014.
The 2013 NFL Draft will be here in the blink of an eye and the Denver Broncos are scheduled to select 28th overall in round one (if they do not trade out of that spot). What positions should the Broncos address?
When reviewing the Denver Broncos depth chart, interior defensive and offensive line, running back, wide receiver, middle linebacker and the secondary appear to be where the team currently is, or soon will be, lacking depth.
At defensive tackle, both of the team's defensive tackles (Justin Bannan and Kevin Vickerson) are scheduled to become free agents this offseason. Regardless of whether or not the team brings back Bannan, Vickerson or both, defensive tackle remains a position that can be upgraded in Denver.
On the offensive line, the Broncos could use depth at guard and center. Starting guards Zane Beadles and Chris Kuper have performed well (Beadles was a 2013 Pro Bowl selection) but Kuper has been battling injuries since the 2011 season. At center, Dan Koppen is scheduled to become a free agent and is going on 34 years old. The Broncos can afford to add depth at both positions this April.
At running back, the Broncos have a lot of questions. Veteran Willis McGahee—who started the season as starter—and Knowshon Moreno—who finished the season as the starter—are both under contract in 2013, but McGahee is coming off a season in which he fumbled frequently before suffering a serious knee injury. And Moreno has never been fully endorsed by Denver's current front office staff.
The Broncos drafted Ronnie Hillman in the third round in 2012, but should consider adding another running back to the roster this April. McGahee won't last much longer (if the team even brings him back) and Moreno leaves a lot be desired.
At wide receiver, the Broncos have depth, but Brandon Stokley will be a free agent in 2013 and young rising stars Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas will both be free agents in 2014. In an ideal world, the Broncos will be able to keep both Decker and Thomas. But in case that doesn't happen, and to provide additional depth if both players do return, the Broncos would be wise to bring in another receiver.
At middle linebacker, the Broncos haven't had a sound 4-3 middle linebacker since the great Al Wilson. In 2012, veteran Keith Brooking did a nice job as the "starter," while he was actually a rotational player in a defense that saw strong linebacker play for much of the season. Moving forward, the team needs to find a player that can anchor the defense, playing between star outside linebacker Von Miller and 2013 Pro Bowl snub Wesley Woodyard.
In the secondary, the Broncos can use depth everywhere. Cornerback Champ Bailey is going on 35 years old and while he may be moved to safety one day, he is not going to be a member of Denver's secondary forever.
At safety, Mike Adams and Rahim Moore played relatively well in 2012, but both would benefit from increased competitive at their respective positions this summer. Adams will be turning 32 this year and Moore is a young safety that has a lot to learn. Moving forward, the team could use more talent at the position.
To review, that's DT, G, C, WR, RB, MLB, CB and S as positions where Denver could use depth and a few upgrades. Below are eight players that could help the Broncos as rookies in 2013 (the Broncos currently own six selections in the draft but their track record suggests that the team will acquire more selections through draft day trades).
DT — Kawann Short, Purdue (Round 1) film here.
MLB — Kevin Minter, LSU (Round 2) film here.
RB — Michael Dyer, Arkansas State (Round 5) film here.
CB — Nigel Malone, Kansas State (Round 5-6) video footage unavailable.
G — Spencer Long, Nebraska (Round 5-7) video footage unavailable.
C — Sam Schwartzstein, Stanford (Round 5-7) video interview here.
These are eight players the Broncos should consider in 2013. Who is on your draft wish list for the Broncos?