Denver Broncos Offseason Analysis: Wide Receivers
When the Denver Broncos signed Peyton Manning, one of the first questions that everyone asked was who is he going to throw to? Not many, outside of Denver, knew a whole lot about Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker but they do now. Thomas and Decker both turned in fantastic seasons playing with Manning for the first time and both should only get better; both are early in their careers and have shown tremendous work ethic.
Thomas is a freak, in a good way, and has only scratched the surface of how good he can be. He had never played with a quarterback like Manning and is now developing into a complete receiver – a guy who can run precise routes and be where he is supposed to be. Thomas has the ability to make catches because of his size that others cannot make, but he can also run by guys. He did not play as well as would have liked in the playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens, but that’s just a bump in the road. If he stays healthy and motivated, then Thomas will be a top-five receiver for years to come.
Decker does not have the physical gifts of Thomas but he runs good routes, and knows how to find the soft spots in a defense. Like Thomas, Decker has shown the ability to make the unbelievable catch, but must work on it consistently. There were too many drops from both Decker and Thomas this season. Just as Manning will be better in his second season with these two, Thomas and Decker will be better as well.
Brandon Stokley is a free agent but has expressed a desire to keep playing and he will likely be back, and will continue to provide a threat from the slot. The Broncos know their window with Manning will not be open for long and they will be aggressive in getting him some additional weapons. They will use both free agency and the draft to upgrade the receiver position, and don’t be surprised if they go after a big name once free agency begins.
As for the draft, the Broncos will look to add depth and possibly speed guy on the outside. Matthew Willis has just not developed like many thought he would; he is a free agent, and it is unlikely that he is back with the Broncos.
The offense for the Broncos was good, very good at times, but not great. In order for them to take that next step; Thomas and Decker have to continue their development, and they need to add one or two more threats in the passing game. The more targets Manning has, the better the Broncos will be and no one knows that more than John Elway, the guy making the decisions.
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