Denver Broncos: Offseason Power Rankings for Every Player on Team's Roster
The Denver Broncos are in the middle of offseason OTAs, getting their first look at the full team they have put together.
The Broncos made waves on the free-agent market by bringing in players like Wes Welker and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. They followed that up by retooling their roster through the NFL draft and bringing in several rookie free agents for some competition in training camp and the preseason.
Where do all these players fit in the grand scheme of things? With a little over three months before the season kicks off, each player will be given the chance to contribute and either make the team or become an even more integral piece of a team looking to make a run at the Super Bowl.
The player's importance to the team, chance of making the final roster and overall play throughout their careers was the criteria used for these rankings.
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87. Ryan Doerr, Punter: Doerr spent his college career kicking for Kansas State University, and he played well there, averaging 41.0 yards per punt in his four seasons with the Wildcats.
He will have a very tough time unseating Britton Colquitt to be the team's starting punter, but he will have the chance to catch the eye of other teams around the league and have a shot at being signed elsewhere.
86. Lanston Tanyi, Defensive End: At Colorado State, Tanyi had 77 tackles his senior season, the second-highest total for a defensive lineman at the school since 1988.
Tanyi will get his shot to show his athleticism as a pass-rusher off the edge, but there are a lot of players in front of him.
85. Lamaar Thomas, Wide Receiver: Thomas is an incredibly fast player, having run a 4.40 second 40-yard dash, but is behind a bunch of players trying to make the team as a wide receiver.
Thomas may be best served to show what he can do on special teams.
84. Ryan Katz, Quarterback: Katz began his college playing career at Oregon State but transferred to San Diego State for his senior season after being benched.
He will battle Zac Dysert for a backup quarterback position, but there is no guarantee Denver will keep either of them.
83. Justin Boren, Offensive Lineman: Boren is a backup lineman who can play the center or guard position. He has spent time in the NFL as a member of the practice squad for the Baltimore Ravens and Detroit Lions.
In Denver, his best bet may be to make the practice squad.
82. John Youboty, Defensive End: Youboty started every game as a senior for Temple and was named to the All-Big East Second Team.
Denver is looking for someone to step up and help replace the void left by Elvis Dumervil's departure and Youboty may be a player to watch.
81. Damien Holmes, Linebacker: After bringing in Holmes for a tryout, the Broncos liked him enough to release Doug Rippy, another college free agent who played linebacker at Colorado.
Holmes had seven tackles and two and a half sacks for UCLA in a game against Colorado last season. With the inconsistency that Denver experienced at middle linebacker last season, Holmes is the kind of player that could turn some heads.
80. Ross Rasner, Safety: Rasner played linebacker and safety in college for Arkansas, but he projects as a safety for Denver.
As a senior, he led the Razorbacks with 92 tackles and flies all over the field. He could start his career by making a name for himself on special teams, the same way David Bruton did.
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79. Lucas Reed, Tight End: Reed was hampered by the fact that New Mexico went to a triple option offensive attack during his senior season in college, and he only caught five passes.
But his other three years, he reeled in 72 catches. At 6'6", he gives the Broncos a big target who has good hands and is a solid blocker. Denver is deep at tight end, so Reed will have to do something huge to make the team.
78. Uona Kaveinga, Linebacker: Kaveinga started his career at USC before transferring to BYU. He is short for a linebacker prospect at 5'11", but he is a huge hitter and can play some pass coverage.
77. Mario Butler, Cornerback: After starting his career with the Dallas Cowboys, Butler was picked up by the Broncos and used as a practice squad player.
The competition at defensive back will be way too tough for Butler to stick around long.
76. Quincy McDuffie, Wide Receiver: McDuffie is on the small side for a wide receiver (5'10", 178), but he has blazing speed.
During his senior season at Central Florida, he returned three kickoffs for touchdowns. It is his speed and big playmaking ability that McDuffie will have to use to separate himself from the pack in Denver.
75. Kemonte Bateman, Wide Receiver: Another rookie free agent at the wide receiver position, Bateman caught 50 passes last season at New Mexico State.
He is very good at going up and getting the ball at its highest point and bringing it down. Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker are the only three wide receivers who are guaranteed a spot on the team. A guy like Bateman could be tough to get rid of if he is able to show what he can do.
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74. Aaron Hester, Cornerback: Devin Hester's cousin, Aaron, latched on with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent out of UCLA.
He is a big cornerback at 6'1" and 207 pounds, but he is still a little raw at the position. Still, the Broncos coaching staff could work with this guy, as he does possess great intangibles and is an aggressive defender.
73. Lerentee McCray, Linebacker: The $17,000 signing bonus that Denver gave to McCray was the most they gave to any undrafted rookie. That may indicate they see something in him.
The biggest knock against him is his injury history. He missed most of two entire seasons at Florida because he couldn't stay on the field.
72. Quentin Saulsberry, Center: Saulsberry spent the 2012 season on the Broncos' practice squad and in late December he was hit with a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy against substance abuse.
The Broncos currently have five players who can play the center position and it just seems like Saulsberry will be the odd man out sooner rather than later.
71. Aaron Brewer, Long Snapper: Long snapper is an often underrated, if not forgotten, position. Denver happens to have a good one in Brewer.
70. Romney Fuga, Defensive Tackle: Fuga is another rookie free agent that played his college ball at BYU.
At 6'2" and 318 pounds, Fuga is a powerful player capable of eating up two blockers at a time. He has a strong work ethic and should be one of the more interesting players to watch in camp and preseason games.
69. Manase Foketi, Guard: Foketi played left tackle at West Texas A&M, but he will likely line up as a guard for Denver. He isn't as athletic as some, but he is very strong and has immense size (6'5", 325 pounds) that gives him a shot to make the team as a backup.
68. Paul Cornick, Tackle: Cornick was a late-season addition to the practice squad last year and will now try to make the team as a backup offensive lineman.
Cornick has yet to get any regular-season playing experience after breaking into the league as a member of the New York Jets.
67. Duke Ihenacho, Safety: Ihenacho spent the 2012 season with the Broncos, mostly as a member of the practice squad. He did see some action in two games in the regular season, and that experience will do nothing but help him this year.
The Broncos need some depth at the safety position and Ihenacho is a guy who could provide just that.
66. Julius Thomas, Tight End: After being a fourth-round draft pick in 2011, Thomas has done next to nothing in Denver, catching just one pass in his entire career.
Thomas should see the end of the line for his Denver playing career prior to the start of the regular season in one of the two rounds of player cuts.
65. C.J. Davis, Center: Davis can line up at the center or guard position, but his best chance of making the squad is probably at center.
J.D. Walton missed a good portion of the season last year with a broken ankle, paving the way for Dan Koppen to take over the job. Koppen is no longer in Denver, giving a guy like Davis a chance to step up.
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64. Zac Dysert, Quarterback: When the Broncos saw Zac Dysert sitting on the board in the seventh round of the NFL draft, they decided to call his name.
Dysert is the all-time leading passer at Miami of Ohio, the same school Ben Roethlisberger attended. Dysert will compete with Ryan Katz for a third-string quarterback position, should the Broncos keep three quarterbacks. It isn't likely, at least right now, that Dysert will overtake Brock Osweiler for the primary backup job.
63. Jeremiah Johnson, Running Back: It seems like Johnson has been involved in the Broncos' system forever. He was first brought in back in December 2010 to serve as a member of the practice squad.
Though Johnson has shown flashes of being a good backup running back, the practice squad is probably the furthest he'll get, especially with the depth the team has at the position.
62. Greg Orton, Wide Receiver: Orton has 138 career catches in the Arena League. He has zero in the NFL, despite being a member of the practice squad for the Broncos for the last two seasons.
Wide receiver is a position of opportunity this offseason and many players have the chance to emerge and make the roster. For Orton, it may be his last chance.
61. Ben Garland, Defensive End/Guard: After spending last season on the practice squad, Garland has come into the 2013 season with a new position.
The Broncos have tinkered with lining Garland up as a guard and they apparently feel he has the skills necessary to play the position. The question is, will this help his chances of making the roster?
60. Sealver Siliga, Defensive Tackle: Siliga has been a member of the Broncos since October 2011. The defensive tackle position has been solidified with the draft choice of Sylvester Williams and the free-agent acquisition of Terrance Knighton.
Siliga could be a camp casualty unless he shows us more than he has, which to this point has been pretty much nothing.
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59. Andre Caldwell, Wide Receiver: Unless there is a total transformation from last year, Caldwell may be looking for a new team in 2013.
After catching 124 passes in four years with the Cincinnati Bengals, Caldwell had exactly one catch last year.
58. Stewart Bradley, Linebacker: Bradley was released by the Arizona Cardinals and scooped up by the Broncos less than two weeks later.
Bradley has had some injury problems in his career to this point but should still battle for a spot in the wide open middle linebacker position.
57. Jacob Hester, Running Back: Though most teams no longer utilize a fullback position, at least nowhere near as much as they used to, that may be the only way Hester gets on the final roster.
Hester serves as a very good lead blocker, and he is also a great weapon in short-yardage situations. Denver has several weapons at the running back spot, but it would be a shame to see Hester go.
56. Joe Mays, Linebacker: Mays was easily one of the biggest disappointments in 2012. After losing his starting job to the 37-year-old Keith Brooking, Mays was suspended and fined for an illegal hit on Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in Week 3.
Not long after, Mays went down with a knee injury and missed the rest of the season. Mays is not only a candidate to lose out on the middle linebacker spot, he could easily be released altogether.
55. Malik Jackson, Defensive End: Broncos fans didn't see much of the team's fifth-round selection last year, as he made just five tackles all season.
With Elvis Dumervil out of the picture, someone must slide into that role, and Jackson will be right in the middle of that mix.
54. C.J. Anderson, Running Back: One of the Broncos' more exciting undrafted rookies is Anderson, who is a hard runner who is able to shed tackles. In his college career at California, he averaged 5.7 yards per carry.
Still, the Denver backfield is very crowded and he seems almost destined for the practice squad.
53. Manny Ramirez, Guard: Ramirez actually started 11 games in 2012 due to the injury woes of Chris Kuper. However, when he was in, he was clearly the weak link of the Denver offensive line.
Ramirez is now a six-year veteran with 26 starts under his belt and he will know what to expect going into camp. His main competition for a backup position will come from Manase Foketi, who will be very tough to beat out.
52. Virgil Green, Tight End: Green served a four-game suspension last season for violating the league's substance abuse policy in 2011 but showed signs of being the player the team selected in the 2011 draft out of Nevada.
Green should be firmly entrenched as the team's No. 3 tight end and could even push Joel Dreessen for the backup spot.
51. Philip Blake, Center: Remember when the Broncos received a couple of draft picks in the Tim Tebow trade with the New York Jets? Blake was one of the players Denver got out of that and he did next to nothing as a rookie.
In his second year, he'll be looking to beat out J.D. Walton to be the team's starting center.
50. Vinston Painter, Tackle: The Broncos were looking for value in an offensive lineman in the later rounds of the NFL draft and they just may have found it with Painter.
The 6'4", 306-pound Painter played on both the offensive and defensive lines in college at Virginia Tech, but Denver will see if he can make the team as a reserve.
Painter is very agile for a man his size, and though he needs some fine-tuning, he could serve as a solid backup to right tackle Orlando Franklin.
49. Tavarres King, Wide Receiver: In the fifth round of this year's draft, the Broncos selected Georgia wide receiver Tavarres King. Though he didn't have a career like A.J. Green before him, he did have an incredible performance in the Outback Bowl last year, finishing with 205 yards receiving.
The Broncos let wide receivers Brandon Stokley and Matt Willis walk in the offseason and will need some guys to fill those roles. King will get one of the first shots to do so, and as a very disciplined route-runner, he is exactly the kind of reliable wideout Peyton Manning loves to have.
48. Kayvon Webster, Cornerback: Some people may have been surprised to hear Webster's name called in the third round of the draft, but Bronco fans are going to be very happy with this guy on the team.
Webster is a very fast, aggressive defensive back who regularly comes up to make tackles in the running game. Learning under guys like Champ Bailey and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will only help Webster, who will have a fruitful career in Denver.
Clark signed a free-agent tender in April to remain with the team. As of right now, he's penciled in to be the backup left tackle to Ryan Clady and should see time with the starters for parts of camp due to Ryan Clady rehabilitating his right shoulder.
46. Omar Bolden, Cornerback: A rookie last season, Bolden was used sparingly, recording just 13 tackles. The biggest impact he made was as a return man, averaging 19.2 yards on 14 returns.
In 2013, Bolden will need to show he can be more of a presence in the secondary or he may be on the outside looking in following roster cuts.
45. Quentin Jammer, Cornerback: The Broncos signed the veteran Jammer on Wednesday, a puzzling move at first considering the recent signing of Rodgers-Cromartie. But as the Denver Post reported, Jammer will be moved to safety in Denver.
The Broncos were abused by opposing tight ends last season, so it seems they have called upon Jammer to help them fix that problem.
An 11-year veteran who has spent his entire career with the San Diego Chargers, Jammer has 21 career interceptions.
44. Quanterus Smith, Defensive End: The Broncos may have to rely on several players to produce the numbers that Elvis Dumervil compiled on an annual basis, but Smith is capable of becoming a very good player.
At Western Kentucky, he had 24 career sacks, including 12.5 as a senior in which he was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the Sun Belt Conference.
Smith shows a very good burst off the snap and could blossom into a very talented pass-rusher for Denver.
43. Brock Osweiler, Quarterback: It would be a surprise to see Osweiler beaten out for the backup quarterback position, but fans saw almost nothing out of him as a rookie.
Osweiler will only get into a game situation if Denver needs him to take a knee in a blowout. That, or Peyton Manning goes down with an injury.
In the preseason, it will be interesting to see how Osweiler has progressed from last year as far as reading defenses and making crisp throws goes.
42. Gerell Robinson, Wide Receiver: This is a position where someone will step up in camp and preseason games, and Robinson will be the guy to do it.
He nearly made the roster a year ago and with that experience under his belt, he'll be looking to make a big impression as soon as he can.
Robinson provides a big target at 6'4" and 227 pounds and has good hands to go with it. He will be one of the more intriguing players on the entire roster to watch in the coming weeks and months.
41. Steven Johnson, Linebacker: Johnson was one of the team's best special teams players a season ago, but the door is wide open at the middle linebacker position.
Johnson was a pleasant surprise in training camp a year ago, making the team after going undrafted out of Kansas State.
Do not be surprised to see him become the starting middle linebacker this year.
40. Nate Irving, Linebacker: While Johnson will have a great chance to be the starting middle linebacker, Irving may have the inside track and is likely the guy the organization wants to see earn the job.
Irving has just 17 tackles in his first two seasons and as a former third-round draft pick, this is a make-or-break season for him.
39. David Bruton, Safety: Though he is technically a safety, Bruton earns his keep in Denver as their special teams ace, and he is becoming one of the better special teams players in all of the league.
The Broncos recognized this by giving him a new three-year deal in the offseason.
38. Jeremy Beal, Defensive End: This is a name you could hear many times very soon.
A seventh-round draft choice in 2011, Beal has yet to get any NFL regular-season action, but he is a capable pass-rusher. He had 29 sacks in his college career at Oklahoma.
37. Trindon Holliday, Kick Returner/Wide Receiver: If not for Holliday, the Broncos may not have even gone to overtime in their playoff loss to Baltimore last season. In that game, Holliday returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown and also had one of each in the regular season.
Holliday is an electric return man, capable of taking one back every time he gets his hands on the ball. Hopefully his ball security has improved greatly.
36. Mitch Unrein, Defensive Tackle: Unrein came out of nowhere in 2012 to be a very consistent, versatile player for the Broncos.
Unrein had 20 tackles and a fumble recovery a year ago, but the Broncos also lined him up in their strong offensive formations, using him as a goal line and short-yardage blocker. He even caught a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning, a memory that will last a lifetime.
Unrein should start the season as a backup defensive tackle and will compete with Kevin Vickerson and Sealver Siliga for a roster spot and placement on the depth chart.
35. Danny Trevathan, Linebacker: Trevathan will be one of the more interesting second-year players on the roster.
The coaching staff seemed to be building trust in him as the season progressed last year and he could easily double his rookie total of 33 tackles.
34. Mike Adams, Safety: Adams' 77 tackles a year ago were good for second-most on the team, but he struggled in coverage.
In would be a step backwards for the Broncos if he isn't beaten out for the starting strong safety position in camp.
33. Tony Carter, Cornerback: Carter has seen the team bring in new defensive backs both through the draft and in free agency. He may be wondering where that leaves him.
Carter had 27 tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery last year, but he will have to beat out a few guys to remain with the team.
32. Quinton Carter, Safety: Along with Joe Mays, Quinton Carter had one of the most disappointing seasons of any Bronco player in 2012.
Carter only made two tackles before his season was ended due to a knee injury. 2013 will be a very telling year for him, but with his legal issues now behind him, he should have what it takes to become an integral part of the team.
31. Lance Ball, Running Back: Ball has 718 yards rushing in the last three seasons with the Broncos and has been a valuable rotational running back who has converted some key third downs.
The Broncos have shown enough trust in him to keep him around for awhile, but with seven other running backs on the roster, Ball could be lost in the shuffle this year.
30. Kevin Vickerson, Defensive Tackle: Vickerson has spent the last three years in Denver, helping to shore up the middle of the defensive line. As a Bronco, Vickerson has tallied 86 tackles and four sacks in three seasons.
But after Denver used their first-round selection on Sylvester Williams, Vickerson may be battling with free-agent signing Terrance Knighton for a starting role.
29. Montee Ball, Running Back: It remains to be seen what kind of professional football player Ball will be, but the Broncos' second-round draft choice is the NCAA's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with 77.
He had a staggering 3,753 yards rushing and 55 touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons alone. Those are numbers you don't even see in video games.
Ball is definitely the feature back of the future for the Broncos; the only question is how long it takes to get there.
28. Terrance Knighton, Defensive Tackle: The Broncos knew that defensive tackle was a position that needed to be addressed following the 2012 season and they wasted no time in signing Knighton once the free-agent signing period opened.
Knighton is a talented player who can defend the run and get after the quarterback and his talents should be on full display in Denver under defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who helped draft him in Jacksonville.
27. Britton Colquitt, Punter: Denver has one of the better punters in the NFL and he fits in perfectly in the thin air at Sports Authority Field.
Colquitt finished third in the NFL last season with a 42.1 yard net average.
26. Sylvester Williams, Defensive Tackle: This may seem high for a rookie, but Williams was such an excellent choice where Denver got him.
At No. 28 in the first round, Williams was still available when Denver went on the clock and they simply couldn't pass him up.
Williams will bring a demeanor to the defensive tackle position that the team hasn't had for years. It won't take long for him to be one of the best defensive players on the team.
25. Matt Prater, Kicker: Denver has one of the better punters in the NFL, and they also have one of the most reliable kickers.
Prater made 26-of-32 field goal attempts in 2012 and he also has one of the strongest legs in the league. His 20 career 50-yard field goals are evidence of that.
24. Ronnie Hillman, Running Back: The jury is still out on how good Hillman will be, but Denver won't be ready to give up on him, so he is probably a lock to make the team.
Hillman showed flashes of what he can do last season, gaining 330 yards on the ground. He will need to be much improved as a pass-blocker, however.
23. Knowshon Moreno, Running Back: Moreno had been all but written off after he fumbled in Week 2 last season on Monday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons. He found himself deactivated on a weekly basis until Willis McGahee went down with injury.
Moreno then came in as a replacement and did quite well for himself, resurrecting his career until he was knocked out of the divisional round playoff game against Baltimore.
Moreno has been hampered throughout his career by injuries and has failed to live up to his potential because of it. He will have a very important training camp and preseason ahead of him, one in which he must stand out.
22. Robert Ayers, Defensive End: Another player who has severely underachieved since being drafted, Ayers will be heavily relied upon in 2013. He will be given the first chance to replace Elvis Dumervil.
Ayers has just 6.5 sacks in his career. He needs to have numbers like that in a season going forward.
21. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cornerback:
After the miserable performance the Denver secondary put forth in the playoff loss to Baltimore, it was no surprise to see the team go after help in that area.
The Broncos signed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie shortly into the free-agent signing period, giving the team a solid nucleus of cornerbacks, at least on paper.
Rodgers-Cromartie struggled as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, getting just three interceptions in two seasons there after recording 13 interceptions during his first three seasons in Arizona.
The Broncos only gave him a one-year deal, so he'll have to show that the system in Philadelphia, not the player, was flawed.
Rodgers-Cromartie will likely start opposite Champ Bailey as the team's starting cornerbacks.
20. J.D. Walton, Center
Despite missing all but four games in 2012 due to an ankle injury, J.D. Walton is still the front-runner to start at center.
He and Peyton Manning had built a good rapport with one another prior to the injury and Manning will likely be most comfortable with Walton this coming season, especially since the team chose not to re-sign Dan Koppen.
19. Rahim Moore, Safety
Yes, Rahim Moore made a terrible play last season in the playoff loss to the Ravens, one that shouldn't be made at any level of football.
Still, Moore had a very solid season aside from that. He bounced back from a disappointing rookie season by piling up 72 tackles, which was third-most on the team. He also had one sack and a fumble recovery.
Moore has to get better in coverage but for those that were wishing he'd be released, or at the very least benched following the playoff defeat, neither will happen. Moore will be one of the starters on defense in Week 1.
18. Chris Kuper, Guard
It appeared the injury lingered into the 2012 season as Kuper was able to play in just seven games, starting just five.
The Broncos brought in Louis Vasquez as a free agent this offseason, obviously realizing that Kuper may not ever be the same player again.
17. Joel Dreessen, Tight End
Joel Dreessen was a solid option in the passing game during his first year in Denver, catching 41 passes and getting into the end zone five times.
What separates Dreessen from a guy like Virgil Green is the fact that he is an excellent blocker and because of that, Denver will keep him around.
Peyton Manning likes to have as many receiving options as he can get and he looked Dreessen's way often last season, targeting him 58 times.
16. Louis Vasquez, Guard
The Broncos have taken aim at former San Diego Chargers this offseason and Vasquez is the insurance policy they brought in for Chris Kuper.
Vasquez is an experienced player who has to be considered the favorite to start at guard at this point in time. The question is if Vasquez wins that job, does Denver even keep Kuper on the roster?
15. Jacob Tamme, Tight End
The Broncos don't have an elite tight end, but in their offense they don't need to.
Jacob Tamme has always had a strong connection with Peyton Manning and as the two moved on to Denver together, they hooked up for 52 passes for 555 yards in 2012.
There is no reason to believe that Tamme won't be the starting tight end this year, either.
14. Shaun Phillips, Linebacker
The Broncos are very happy about the signing of Shaun Phillips and fans should be as well.
He can line up as a defensive end or linebacker, one who can even drop back in coverage. He also has 69.5 career sacks from his days in San Diego.
Phillips is a player the Broncos knew well and they knew that signing him off the free-agent market would be a great move.
Quietly, this could be one of the best free-agent signings of the entire offseason.
13. Willis McGahee, Running Back
After rushing for 1,199 yards in 2011, big things were expected out of Willis McGahee in 2012. He didn't quite deliver.
McGahee showed an inability to secure the ball and make plays in crucial situations and was knocked out for the season with a knee injury in November.
McGahee will be 32 years old in October and that combined with the bevy of running backs on the roster puts his status with the team very much in doubt.
12. Orlando Franklin, Tackle
Orlando Franklin still has some room to grow and the argument can be made that he might be better as a guard, but he gets the job done as the team's right tackle.
Franklin is only 26 years old and should have several good years in front of him.
11. Derek Wolfe, Defensive End
The sky is the limit for Derek Wolfe.
As a rookie, Wolfe had 40 tackles and six sacks. Only Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil got to the quarterback more, and he got better each and every week.
The team has to be salivating over how good Wolfe can be, and he'll be a starter from day one this season.
10. Zane Beadles, Guard
He may be doing it quietly, but Zane Beadles is turning himself into one of the better interior linemen in all of football. The league took notice last year, sending him to his first Pro Bowl.
Beadles is very good at opening up holes in the running game and his footwork seems to improve every time he steps on the field.
He has a starting position on the line locked down.
9. Eric Decker, Wide Receiver
After catching just 50 passes through his first two years in the league, Eric Decker exploded in 2012 with 85 catches, 13 of which went for a touchdown. Only James Jones of Green Bay had more touchdowns through the air.
Decker will be a huge part of the team going forward and will be part of a passing game that is going to be very hard to stop for any defense.
8. Chris Harris, Cornerback
Chris Harris may be the most underrated player in the entire league. This guy does it all.
With Champ Bailey and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the outside, Harris will probably be asked to play the nickel cornerback position where he'll often match up against the slot receiver, something he can do very well.
Not only is Harris good in pass coverage, he is a very good tackler in open space and he is not afraid to lower his head on a ball-carrier.
The Broncos will use the combination of Bailey, Rodgers-Cromartie and Harris to the best of their abilities as a trio, but Harris is good enough to start for just about any team in the league.
7. Wesley Woodyard, Linebacker
One of the main reasons D.J. Williams is no longer in Denver is the play of Wesley Woodyard, who stepped up in his absence.
Woodyard had a terrific 2012 season, leading the team with 117 tackles. That was 40 more tackles than any other player had. He also had three interceptions and often was the team's best linebacker in pass coverage.
Woodyard also has become a leader on the field and the total package he brings made letting Williams go a pretty easy decision.
6. Champ Bailey, Cornerback
The last time we saw Champ Bailey on the field, it was probably his most forgettable day as a pro. For weeks, you heard things like maybe age is catching up to him or maybe he should move to safety. What about this... perhaps Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith just had a great day.
Bailey is still one of the best cover corners in the NFL and just about any team would love to have him. Bailey says, via Sporting News, he will not be moving to safety, at least not this season.
Bailey is a 12-time selection to the Pro Bowl and he is a better option at cornerback than just about anyone out there, even if he is 34 years old.
Flacco and Smith will get their chance to face Bailey again on September 5 in the season opener. Let's see if they can duplicate their playoff performance.
5. Wes Welker, Wide Receiver
This could be the move that puts the Broncos over the top this year. The Broncos made one of the biggest moves in free agency this year when they brought in Tom Brady's favorite target, Wes Welker.
Welker is a reception machine that gives the Broncos a litany of options on offense. He has caught 100 passes or more in a season five times in his career.
The Broncos will now be able to stretch the field and give the opposing defense almost too many things to worry about.
4. Demaryius Thomas, Wide Receiver
Much like Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas came alive in 2012 with 94 catches for over 1,400 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. Knowing what he is capable of and with plenty of confidence instilled in him, Thomas should be one of the league's most dangerous receivers this year.
Remember how good Marvin Harrison used to be with Peyton Manning? Thomas can be every bit as good and with the combination of his size and speed, is a tough matchup for anyone.
3. Ryan Clady, Tackle
As long as Ryan Clady recovers from shoulder surgery and can be the dominant player he has through his career, he should get the long-term contract he yearns for in Denver.
Clady gave up just one sack last season and there probably isn't another player who Peyton Manning wants protecting his blindside more than Clady, who has emerged as one of the game's best left tackles.
2. Von Miller, Linebacker
With youth on his side and the talent level he has, an argument can be made that Von Miller is the best player on the team.
After an incredible 2012 season, Miller has emerged as one of, if not the best defensive player in the NFL. His 18.5 sacks last year could have easily been even more.
In two seasons, Miller already has 30 career sacks, and at the age of 24, he could become one of the all-time great defensive players.
1. Peyton Manning, Quarterback
Like there was any doubt.
Despite being in the twilight of his career, Peyton Manning still performs at an incredibly high level. Not only did he make a successful return from neck surgery last season, he did so with MVP-caliber numbers.
Manning had one of the best statistical seasons of his career, throwing for 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns. But what separates Manning from most quarterbacks is his commitment to being the best player and teammate that he possibly can.
The Broncos have brought in plenty of weapons in order to make a championship run, but much like last year, they'll go as far as Manning can take them.