Can they overcome the Super Bowl hangover? The Denver Broncos can’t answer that question until their roster is properly straightened out.
Right Tackle: Chris Clark vs. Michael Schofield
With Orlando Franklin on the move to left guard, the Denver Broncos have a decision to make of ahead of them regarding the right tackle spot. Logic says they go with Chris Clark who played left tackle most of last season after starter Ryan Clady went down with injury. Clark is experienced and plays efficiently despite his limited upside. His main obstacle will be rookie 3rd round pick Michael Schofield. Quick-footed, tough, nasty and relentless in his run blocking, the Michigan product has the desired size of a right tackle. He still needs work on his technique, but if he can learn quickly he has a definite shot of overcoming Clark.
Reserve WR: Andre Caldwell vs. Cody Latimer
As far as the starter go, Denver has their top three wide receivers set with Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Emmanuel Sanders. The question at hand is who will be that key fourth receiver who can step up if one of them goes down. Longtime veteran Andre Caldwell filled that role last season efficiently enough. This time around though he’ll have to fight hard to just keep that job because 2nd round pick Cody Latimer has high expectations coming out of Indiana. A late riser in the draft, he has intriguing size and hands that Denver would love to eventually get on the field. How long that takes depends on how quickly he can grasp the playbook. Until then he’ll have to settle for a battle with Caldwell as a main reserve.
Middle Linebacker: Jamar Chaney vs. Lamin Barrow
Thanks to a series of free agent moves the Denver Broncos defense is largely set at the top of the depth chart save for one or two position. Perhaps the most underrated in terms of importance is the middle linebacker spot. The loss of Wesley Woodyard has left free agent Jamar Chaney as the penciled in starter. Chaney has struggled with injuries the past few seasons but was very productive for Philadelphia in 2011 when he played a full season. He will have to hold off rookie 5th round pick Lamin Barrow. While a little undersized, he’s very athletic, has the speed to move laterally and the intelligence to play the middle. What he lacks is experience having played outside linebacker at LSU. It should make for an interesting race once the preseason starts.