We’re not the first to re-post this. But it’s worth noting and analyzing for you, our readers. Pro Football Focus, the leading advanced football metrics website — and friends of Mile High Huddle — evaluated all 32 NFL teams, breaking it down by division, to determine the most improved rosters through free agency and the Draft.
When it comes to the AFC West, the Denver Broncos lead the way in PFF’s eyes, as the team who improved their circumstances the most.
Pro Football Focus
The AFC West wasn’t a big player in free agency, with the most significant additions for most teams coming via the draft. Each team has at least one significant addition, but the team that clearly went to work addressing an area of weakness is the Denver Broncos. They added Ronald Leary to address a weakness at guard, and then grabbed Garett Bolles with their top pick to fix their left tackle problem. Leary didn’t allow a single sack in 2016, compared to the four that Max Garcia did playing left guard for the Broncos. Carlos Henderson also has the ability to make an impact early, as he led all FBS wide receivers last season in broken tackles, with 48, 22 more than anybody else.
For what it’s worth, PFF’s analysis of Denver matches up with Erick Trickel’s evaluation of the AFC West post-draft. Evaluating each team’s respective draft and undrafted free agent class, Denver emerged as the most improved team based on Trickel’s grading system.
A pattern can be seen in how the Broncos approached their offseason. GM John Elway, after hiring Vance Joseph as head coach, targeted physical players in the trenches, and explosive skill-position players on offense.
Through free agency and the NFL Draft, the Broncos infused their roster with some big, nasty trenchmen — including Ronald Leary, Menelik Watson and Garett Bolles — and some fast, explosive playmakers on offense, like Jamaal Charles, Carlos Henderson, Isaiah McKenzie and De’Angelo Henderson.
Throw in key additions who can make an impact now and in the future, like Jake Butt, Brendan Langley, DeMarcus Walker and even Chad Kelly, and it’s easy to understand why PFF sees Denver as the AFC West’s most improved roster.
Considering the depth of talent the Broncos already had before the flood of new blood, Denver emerges as deep and talented as any team in the league. With a new approach to coaching and designing systems, the only question mark for the Broncos is the quarterback position.
One of these young players will rise to the top. But with Chad Kelly and UDFA Kyle Sloter entering the quarterback room with Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian, the competition this year will be fierce.
Denver might not have a proven veteran at the quarterback position, but they have four very talented young players, all of whom can spin it. I’d be careful about handing out Divisional crowns to Kansas City or Oakland in May.
The Denver Broncos are coming.
Broncos Draft Ep. 13: Which AFC West Teams Improved On Draft Day?
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.