The Comeback is previewing all 32 NFL teams from worst to first leading up to the start of the 2018 regular season on Sept. 6. Up next in our preseason rankings are the trying-to-bounce-back Denver Broncos.
2017 in a nutshell: With Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler sharing quarterback duties, the Broncos post the second-lowest team passer rating in the league. The defense also crumbles out of nowhere and they win just five games.
What’s different: They’re paying Case Keenum $36 million over the next two years to set things straight at the quarterback position, and they added defensive rookie of the year favorite Bradley Chubb early in the draft.
Why they could be awesome: Keenum was the seventh-highest-rated passer in the NFL last season, and that defense can still kill it with Chubb and Von Miller.
Why they could suck: Keenum was a so-so backup before breaking out in Minnesota in 2017, and it’s entirely possible he’s a one-year wonder. They also traded away cornerback Aqib Talib.
Major additions: Keenum, Chubb, rookie wide receiver Courtland Sutton and first-year running back Royce Freeman.
Major losses: Talib, wide receiver Cody Latimer, running back C.J. Anderson.
Breakout watch: Keenum, Freeman and the rest of that offense will need a big sophomore season from 2017 first-round pick Garett Bolles, who had an up-and-down rookie campaign as the starting left tackle. Bolles was considered somewhat raw, so a full offseason should help after his baptism by fire.
Position to watch: The Talib trade was odd because it left them quite thin at corner. Chris Harris kicks ass in the slot and Bradley Roby is decent outside, but beyond that it’s probably veteran Tramaine Brock fighting with rookie third-rounder Isaac Yiadom for the No. 3 job.
Prediction: The AFC West is wide open and it’s possible Keenum is for real. Still, I don’t think Vance Joseph is qualified for his head-coaching job after failing as defensive coordinator in Miami and again in his first year on this job. This team isn’t as talented as it was a few years ago, and will struggle to put together a .500 record.
7-9, 4th place in the AFC West