The Denver Broncos' 2013-14 campaign is off to a smooth start.
While the general opinion is that the Broncos could have had a stronger draft, the front office has been met with near universal acclaim for its first-round pick of defensive tackle Sylvester Williams. The former North Carolina Tar Heel, quite literally, fills a huge hole on the defensive line that caused the Broncos a lot of problems last season.
The Broncos went with a mixed bag of picks after that. They took running back Montee Ball in the second round and cornerback Kayvon Webster in the third.
Following that, the Broncos went with defensive end Quanterus Smith, wide receiver Tavarres King, offensive tackle Vinston Palmer and quarterback Zac Dysert.
We'll see if these picks stick or not in the near future, but heading into the summer, the Broncos are in very good shape and should be poised for another successful season.
Still, this is the NFL, and no team is ever a complete puzzle. There are always areas where improvements can be made, and here are a few that the Broncos could stand to focus on.
Even at the ripe old age of 36, Charles Woodson certainly seems like he could have one or two strong years left in him.
The former Raider/Packer has already put together a HOF résumé, yet he hasn't announced any plans to retire.
We saw how well bringing in Peyton Manning worked out for the Broncos last year, so perhaps bringing in Woodson to serve as a veteran presence on the defense could yield successful results as well.
Woodson is versatile, having played cornerback and strong safety during his NFL career, and would serve as an excellent mentor and role model for the Broncos' young defensive backs.
I second that.
Obviously, the biggest hit that the Denver Broncos took this offseason was the unusual departure of defensive end Elvis Dumervil.
Dumervil has been an amazing talent for the Broncos over the past few seasons and had agreed to take a pay cut to stay with the team. In an odd turn of events, his signed contract did not reach the NFL headquarters in time, and Dumervil was subsequently cut. Attempts to re-sign Dumervil failed, as he chose to head to the Baltimore Ravens, who offered him a more lucrative deal.
Just like all of us in life, Denver cannot dwell on this and must roll with the punches. Signing defensive end John Abraham could be a great way to move on.
This is a significant longshot compared to the possibility of the Broncos signing Charles Woodson, yet it's not completely unrealistic.
Abraham is coming off a great season in which he recorded 10 sacks and could serve as a veteran presence on the defense. Realistically, however, I don't think Denver would be willing to spend the money that would be necessary to sign Abraham.
In addition to having a fantastic name, Israel Idonije could be a great sign for the Denver Broncos.
Idonije isn't a marquee player, so the Broncos could get him for a reasonable price. His versatility, however, could make him a steal.
The former Chicago Bear is classically a defensive end, yet he played defensive tackle for the Bears as well, and thanks to his 6'6", 271-pound frame, he succeeded.
Taking into account how important the defensive line is, having a versatile veteran in the mix could really help the Broncos out. Idonije could also serve as a good mentor for rookie Sylvester Williams.
The Broncos currently have Williams, Mitch Unrein, Terrance Knighton and Kevin Vickerson signed at defensive tackle.
Knighton was a great offseason signing and will likely start opposite Williams. With just Unrein and the injury-prone Vickerson behind, however, Idonije could provide some necessary depth.
Another veteran free agent, former Indianapolis Colt Dwight Freeney, could be a nice sign for the Denver Broncos defensive end/linebacking corps, which lost D.J. Williams this offseason in addition to Elvis Dumervil.
Freeney, 33, was decently productive last season. Despite being injured and putting up career lows in stats, he still recorded five sacks.
Being that Freeney is over 30 and coming off an injury-filled season, the Broncos definitely need to be cautious if they want to pursue him. He wants to be paid handsomely, and the Broncos will have to ask themselves if it's worth it.
Nonetheless, if the price is right, Freeney would be a great option to have on the end when Denver chooses to go in the 3-4 scheme on defense.
Realistically, with the rapport that Peyton Manning built with tight ends Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme last season, there isn't any need for the Broncos to sign Dallas Clark.
Still, it's tough to overlook the possibility entirely. Clark was Manning's go-to man for years in Indianapolis, and together the two of them were a red-zone nightmare for defenses.
Clark should be very content with the career that he has had, because it looks like retirement might be knocking for the 33-year-old. It's not that he's untalented, but he has dealt with some injuries and just seems to really need the right system to be successful.
The Broncos would be remiss to not talk to Clark and his agent, but I'm putting this one as a long shot. Nonetheless, it'd be a nice surprise to see Clark and Manning back on the field together, giving defenses another reason to load up on Advil before facing the Denver Broncos in 2013.