Thursday, April 25, 2013

Denver Broncos - Absence Makes the Elway Sign Free Agents

Greetings Broncos Fans!!

Wow...what a free agency period for the Denver Broncos!  In this post I highlight the positions of need and who the Broncos signed in these positions of need.

The Broncos targeted very specific free agents this year.  John Elway and company really feel that this team is going to remain strong and a competitive group by drafting solid and great young players.  But....there is always room to fill a need through free agency.  Elway doesn't want to get his core team from free agency because it hardly ever works, see the Eagles "Dream Team", but he loves to find a veteran to provide depth and experience in those spots.  They aren't necessarily looking for a 100% of the snaps / plays type starter when they sign free agents, they are looking for someone to compliment the need and help make the group stronger.

With that being said, here's a look at what position groups our Denver Broncos went after...

Defensive Line - Big men down front
Offensive Line - The more they push, the harder they fall
Wide Receiver - Come on...Peyton Manning can't have enough targets
Linebacker - Those guys that like to plug holes and hit things
Cornerback aka Defensive Corner - Did you see the playoff game?!

Defensive Line
Resigned Kevin Vickerson.
Last year, Kevin flew to Denver and met, then, newly hired defensive coordinator Jack Del'Rio.  He asked Jack "What do I need to do to be a starter on your defense?"  Jack simply said, "I like big men".  After taking a step back from Jack, Kevin acknowledged the comment and left to go train for the offseason.  Kevin came back to training camp 30 lbs heavier at 330 lbs plus or minus.  He went home and got big like Jack wanted.  Kevin played a very solid season and contributed as one of the starting defensive tackles that accounted for a top 5 defense against the run.  The Broncos made a good decision bringing him back for another two years.

Signed the big defensive tackle Terrance Knighton - 6'3" 336lbs "Pot Roast" from Jacksonville.
I don't know too much about this player, but considering he played for Jack on his old team and the Jaguars consistently lead the top half of the lead in run defense, this is a good signing.  He's big, cheap, and knows the system.  He'll provide youth, depth, and a possible starter on the defensive line in the middle as a tackle.

Offensive Line
Signed Guard Luis Vasquez, a power right guard that is strong and durable.
This was pretty obvious.  At the end of the season, the Broncos had four, cout'em four offensive line starters go under a knife to fix some health concerns.  The Broncos needed a solid starter or back-up but I didn't think they would go for a great starter from within the division (the Chargers).  Vasquez is a force inside against the run and can hold the pocket from collapsing against a inside pass rush, which was desperately needed as Peyton was sacked the most from an inside push.  I'm looking forward to the competition of the guard spots between the three pro bowlers as guards on the Broncos roster.

Wide Receiver
The Denver Broncos signed / stole receiver Wes Welker from Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Again, a no brainer.  Brandon Stokely had a AWESOME season last year, but like what the Broncos did last offseason by going out and getting Peyton, the Broncos saw that they could upgrade the wide receiver spot and went after Welker.  This not only instantly makes the Broncos the best receiver trio in the league, it also hurts the Patriots, so that's a good win win.  It will be great to see what the Broncos do with their offense with this crazy good trio.

Linebacker
Denver signed Stewart Bradley to a one-year prove it deal.  Not an immediate impact player, but he will add some quality depth to the linebackers of the Broncos.  This I think is a great signing as Stewart was kind of inconsistent and didn't live up to expectations on his previous teams.  He probably has the best chance to meet or exceed those expectations this year because Jack Del'Rio is an old linebacker himself, and it's said that all of the linebackers that have played in his system, love it.  So...if you love the system...wouldn't you want to try to improve and exceed expectations?  Yes.  Not to mention, Jack is a pretty dang good coach too.

Cornerback
Dominique Rodger-Cromartie was signed by Denver essentially on a one year deal with an option to extend to two years.  This is a great signing again by Denver.  DRC is not a better corner than Champ Bailey, but then again, who is?  DRC will come in and be the second best cornerback on the roster.  This signing immediately upgrades the secondary and provides some good depth to the corners.  The Broncos played with 5 defensive backs on 65% of the plays last year.  That means, three cornerbacks and two safeties.  The times have changed where you need three starting caliber cornerbacks to be on your team, and Denver just completed their three.

To summarize, the Broncos made smart, solid, free agent signings.  I can't wait to monitor their progress and see them come into their own on this Denver Broncos roster.

Welcome to the team boys!

Go Broncos!

Justin






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