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Denver Broncos March Scouting Report
Charles Rives

The AFC West remained the domain of the KC Chiefs in the 2023-24 season.

The Raiders extended their win streak over the Broncos. The LA Chargers remained hapless and were swept by the Broncos. The Broncos are raising season ticket prices by 7.9% after last season’s 13% price raise.


The Kansas City will continue to have the best Head Coach, Quarterback and Organization in the NFL. Regardless of who retires or leaves, KC remains the team to beat in the AFC West. Look for them to add to Mahomes receiving weapons with someone like South Carolina speedster WR Xavier Legette.

The LA Chargers have already made their big splash by adding a winning Head Coach and a GM who knows the Harbaugh offense/philosophy/system to go with their franchise quarterback.

The LV Raiders need a franchise quarterback and should be in position to get one of the second tier quarterbacks at pick 13. They also have enough draft capital to leap frog Minnesota (11) and Denver (12) to get their man.

The Denver Broncos are once again involved in a Head Coach-Quarterback battle where the Head Coach wants to jettison a quarterback for one who can run HIS system better than the incumbent. Pat Bolen stopped Dan Reeves from trading John Elway, but unfortunately he didn’t stop Mike Shanahan from going with Brian Griese over Bubby Brister. Likewise, the managing trust did not stop Gary Kubiak from moving forward with Trevor Siemian. Offensive minded head coaches love their systems and It drives them crazy when it’s not run perfectly. The game is hard and at some point something will go wrong and a play must be made. Play making quarterbacks can do that; system managers can’t. For all his flaws, Russell Wilson can do that. In today’s game, a scheme needs to be creative. It has to adapt to the defenses and adapt to the players on the roster. The best teams are built around a quarterback with a "clutch gene" to win. If you go with a playmaker, good things will happen. Otherwise, you fall to the wayside. Greg Penner needs to use Denver’s history to chose a path with upside and keep Russell Wilson around instead of jumping the gun. The final decision will be no later than March 17. Update: Wilson will be released, so the Broncos must start over at quarterback in 2024!


Hired Pete Carmichael as Senior Offensive Assistant. Hired Jim Leonhard as the Defensive Pass Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs coach. Extended LB Jonas Griffith contract. Signed NT Rashard Lawrence to reserve/future contract.


QB Russell Wilson is looking to sell his home in Denver. Another sign his time in Denver is over. He bought his home in 2022 for $16m and is reported to be worth $25M today. Denver has been very good to Wilson.

QB Sam Darnold is a name that keeps cropping up as an option for Denver. Quarterback success in a Sean Payton offense comes down to rhythm and timing. Darnold has now been schooled in offensive football, reading defenses and every aspect of quarterback play (Shanahan-McVay style). He’s a former number three pick with starter experience who has put in the work as a back up. He has all the tools, can use his legs and fits the mold for a Payton reclamation project.

QB Bo Nix Denver has to get cheap salary-wise at the quarterback position. Payton prefers a point guard type quarterback who can protect himself with his feet and get the ball out accurately and on time. Twelve is high for Nix, but he fits the mold and the Broncos don’t have a second round pick. The hallmarks and standard of a Sean Payton offense-timing, rhythm and tempo-weren’t present in the Broncos 2023 offense. Payton wants a quarterback who is a quick processor which is the hardest thing to evaluate.

The Broncos met with quarterbacks: Oregon’s Michael Penix Jr., USC’s Caleb Williams, LSU’s Jayden Daniels, North Carolina’s Drake Maye, Oregon’s Bo Nix, Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler, and informally with Tulane’s Michael Pratt at the combine. They also interviewed Alabama’s CB Terrion Arnold and met with Georgia’s TE Brock Bowers.

QB Michael Penix had to look at and explain a lot of his bad plays.

Running Back

RB Javonte Williams will likely get another chance next summer to be the Broncos’ primary running back.

RB Jaleel McLaughlin could become the Broncos’ "joker" and still steal carries from Williams.

Wide Receivers

Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick are three of the top nine cap hit for the Broncos in 2024.

WR Courtland Sutton is the oldest of the wide receivers, but he accounted for 10 touchdowns in 2023. As the oldest, he maybe the most likely to be traded.

WR Jerry Jeudy has yet to live up to his draft status, but Payton loves him. He showed more signs of life with Stidham at quarterback, so a quarterback change and Payton’s scheming offer hope.

WR Tim Patrick has been productive when available, buy injuries there past two season may make him expendable. Patrick must reduce his contract or be cut WR Marvin Mims, Jr will have an increased role on offense which could impact his use in the return game.

WR Phillip Dorsett and WR David Sills are signed to future contracts.

Tight Ends

The Broncos (and Payton’s offense) are in need of receiving help at the tight end position. The pure blockers are likely to be replaced.

TE Greg Dulcich shows promise as a receiver, but he can’t stay healthy.

TE Nate Adkins can double as a full back which may be his best position.

TE Lucas Krull is extremely raw, but at 6’6" could be a tough match up in the end zone if he develops.

Bronco Needs

Quarterback; Tight End; Defensive Tackle (line); Corner Back; Edge; talented depth.

March 11-13 Teams are allowed to negotiate with the agents of prospective unrestricted free agents during a two-day period beginning March 11 at 12 p.m. ET and ending at 3:59:59 p.m. ET on March 13.

March 13 Day 1 of the 2024 league year.

Free Agency

The fate of the Broncos is in the hands of Sean Payton and the improvements he can make in the team. The Broncos could make sweeping changes to their roster as Sean Payton has floated the idea of starting from scratch every offseason and this is a roster he inherited. They don't have the draft capital to just sit out free agency, so they will need to take some risks at the right price.

The Broncos haven’t had a quarterback since Manning and they need to decide who it will be before free agency-veteran or rookie? A big decision for the Broncos will be how they free up cap space. Presently, they have the fifth worst cap space in the league. They will have to cut some players, trade some players for draft picks and restructure some other players contracts. A big question is whether or not Alex Forsyth can be their starting center as they may not be able to retain Cushenberry because of his cost as a URF. Their cap situation will require for them to go bargain shopping for "cheap" veterans, like DE Carl Lawson (NYJ) or S/ILB Jeremy Chinn (Car.) The unexpected $30.6 million salary cap increase is great news for the Broncos. The roster needs a lot of work and having that wiggle room to get out from under some bad contracts will help. Inexpensive free agents worth a look: CB Oliver Cook; CB Sean Murphy-Bunting; DT Greg Gaines; OLB Shaq Barrett.


This draft has players that could fit a wide variety of needs, immediately and for the future. The Broncos don’t have much in the way of draft capitol in 2024. However, there are a few players they should consider at the appropriate point in the draft:

DL Darius Robinson

TE Jared Wiley

CB Max Melton

RB MarShawn Lloyd







RB Jaylen Wright

RB Isaiah Davis

Under the radar players for pick 12:

Byron Murphy, DL

Taliese Fuaga, OL

Jared Verse, EDGE

Brian Thomas, WR

Troy Fautanu, OL

There is a strong wide receiver group in the first two rounds. Denver would need to take one at pick 12 or trade down for more picks to get one.

Sean Payton’s offense needs a tight end (mismatch, athletic) to threaten defenses:

Brock Bowers, Ga.

Jared Wiley, TCU

Dallin Holker, CSU

Johnny Wilson, FSU

2024 Draft Plan (likely)

Quarterback; play making Tight End; Run Stuffer; Corner Back; Inside Linebacker

Orangeman’s Take

The Bronco’s roster needs more talented depth as the team is at the bottom of the AFC West. They paid too steep a price to bring QB Russell Wilson (five-year, $245-million contract starting 2024. two first-round picks, two second-round selections and three players (Noah Fant, Shelby Harris and Drew Lock) and Head Coach Sean Payton (first-round pick last season, second-round this year and a third-round pick in 2024, and a five-year, $90-million deal) to Denver. Finding a way for both to find success in Denver is the best path to get a return on that investment. Moving forward without Wilson means cash and cap problems and they won’t have a quarterback. Both Wilson and Payton have won a Super Bowl. Moving forward together seems like a responsible way to build on the good things they developed in 2023. Too bad that is simply not going to happen. Regardless, TE Greg Dulcich, RB Javonte Williams, CB Damarri Mathis, S Caden Sterns and DC Vance Joseph (at least top 15 defense) need to shape up or ship out.


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