Denver Broncos Offseason Analysis: Cornerbacks
It’s a shame that the defensive backs for the 2012 Denver Broncos are going to be remembered for one bad game versus the Baltimore Ravens. It was a playoff game, and that makes it easier to focus on, but it was only one game; other than that, the defensive backs for the Broncos were terrific in 2012. Their improvement from 2011 to this past season was remarkable, and one game does not change that. It also does not change the fact that major changes are not needed; all that is needed are some minor tweaks. We will look at the cornerback spot today and the safeties tomorrow.
The cornerback play led by Champ Bailey, Chris Harris and Tony Carter was great from the sixth week of the season on. Bailey had a rough day versus the Ravens but overall, it was one of his better seasons in awhile. There are many who believe that it is time for him to move to safety, but that day may come but not yet. It seems as if a lot of people are overreacting to the Broncos loss to the Ravens, but it is important to look at the season as a whole and they are a good football team. The same applies to Bailey; people are ready to move him to safety or have him retire because of one bad game, but you can’t forget about the entire season. Bailey is still a top 10 cornerback in this league, and moving him to safety now would be premature.
Harris and Carter are two young corners who had a coming out party in 2012. Harris, in particular, is on his way to being one of the better players at his position. He was undrafted but is playing like a first-round pick and is the heir apparent as the team’s top cornerback when Bailey does call it quits.
Carter, like Bailey, had a tough day versus the Ravens but he was the surprise player for the Broncos in 2012. His emergence made Tracy Porter, a very good player, expendable. Carter is a very good man-to-man cornerback and should only get better in the coming years.
Porter was one of the top free agents signed by the Broncos prior to last season, but it just did not pan out. None of it was Porter’s fault, as he was bitten by some terrible luck. First, there was the seizure disorder that kept him out for two months and then when he did return, he suffered a concussion on the first drive of the game. Porter is a free agent and because of Harris and Carter, the Broncos will let him go.
The young player that the Broncos love is rookie Omar Bolden. He has first-round talent, but slipped in last year’s draft due to an injury. Bolden did not play a lot on defense, but was a solid contributor on special teams. If Bolden develops as the Broncos hope he will, then he will give them another quality player at the position.
In today’s NFL, teams have to be able to cover; it’s a passing league, and that’s not going to change. Because of that and, in part because of the playoff loss, the Broncos will look to add another cornerback. It is one of the positions that fans should keep an eye on in the draft – the Broncos first pick could very well be a corner. It didn’t end the way they wanted, but overall the cornerbacks for the Broncos had a very good season – one game does not erase all of that.
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