Peyton Manning continues to search for another Super Bowl title, and hopes to find his way to MetLife Stadium in February with a rather revamped offense.
The 37-year-old four-time MVP and 2012 Comeback Player of the Year told the Denver Post that he wants to rev up the team’s offense, which still finished second in the league in points scored on 68.13 plays per game.
Pointing to the New England Patriots and their NFL-leading 75 plays per game last season, Manning thinks Denver can reach that same mark with better communication in the no-huddle offense.
Adding wide receiver Wes Welker, formerly a member of the Patriots, should add another level of offensive efficiency. The Broncos are also expected to add some reinforcements on offense in the 2013 NFL Draft next week in New York.
Below are four players the Broncos may consider to not only get back to the playoffs, but make the run many expected them to make before running into the Baltimore Ravens and two overtimes in the AFC Divisional round last year.
Denver will host Baltimore in the season opener, according to reports. The official schedule is set to be released on Thursday at 8 p.m. eastern time.
The Broncos have six total picks, each at No. 28 per round, except for the second round when they are the 26th team to select. While NFL teams often draft on talent over need, Denver could be biased towards speed over size.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
About the only weakness in the Denver offense last season was the rushing attack. Knowshon Moreno was more than serviceable with 525 yards and four touchdowns in 138 attempts after Willis McGahee went down. Overall, the Broncos were 16th in rushing, but Manning was so dominate it didn’t really matter.
Last season, Lacy more than doubled his yardage from a year ago with 1,322 yards and 17 touchdowns, and caught 22 balls out of the backfield for another 189 yards and two scores.
He’s rated as the best running back in this class, but with the top of the draft loaded with offensive and defensive lineman, Lacy could fall to the late first or second round to Denver.
Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
Champ Bailey is another year older, and while the Broncos have some youth in the secondary on the bench, more could certainly help late in the second round. Taylor could help the Broncos force more turnovers, creating more possessions for Manning.
Taylor was questionable after a broken leg forced him to miss the second half of the 2011 season, but he returned and excelled in man-to-man coverage. In four seasons with the Broncos, he notched 132 tackles and seven interceptions.
Arthur Brown, OLB, Kansas State
Replacing Elvis Dumervil after the contract-fax fiasco last month should be a top priority for team president John Elway.
Dumvervil, along with Von Miller, led the Denver frontline with six forced fumbles, the third best in the league last season.
Brown was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, despite a smaller frame than the typical linebacker. He led the Wildcats in tackles with 100, and had six passes defended. Brown is projected to go in the second round, though some think he’s first round material. Should Brown be available, the Broncos are expected to give him strong consideration.
Eric Reid, S, LSU
The Broncos have plenty of youth, but just like Bailey at cornerback, adding depth behind veteran safety Mike Adams could be helpful.
Reid had a strong 40 time in the combines. He also has the size (6'1; 213 pounds) to outmuscle receivers. Reid was third on the team in tackles (91), breaking up seven passes and defending another nine for the Tigers last season.