Roster weaknesses: Every team has them, and the draft is often the best way to address them. With the 2014 NFL Draft fast approaching, NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah will be taking an up-close look at the main areas of weakness -- and the prospects who could fix them -- for all 32 squads in the league. Be sure to catch "Path to the Draft" on NFL Network at 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday for more in-depth analysis.
Battista: Free agency winners/losers
Who's capitalizing on the open market? Which general manager has egg on his face? Judy Battista has the answers. **READ**
The Denver Broncos made arguably the biggest splash in the first wave of free agency, adding defensive end DeMarcus Ware, safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Aqib Talib to strengthen a unit that surrendered 24.9 points per game in 2013. Signing the three Pro Bowl defenders will certainly help improve the defense, as will the returns of linebacker Von Miller, defensive end Derek Wolfe and tackle Kevin Vickerson, all of whom missed ample time last season because of injury.
Despite their aggressive approach to the offseason, the Broncos still have some depth issues -- especially on offense -- that they'll need to address in the 2014 NFL Draft. Adding talent on both sides of the ball might help them bounce back from their disastrous Super Bowl blowout.
Here are four positions of need for Denver -- and four prospects who could fill them.
The Broncos let Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie walk, released All-Pro Champ Bailey and are hoping starter Chris Harris is the same guy he was before he tore his ACL. Clearly they have some needs in their secondary. Even with the addition of Talib, I see them looking for a cornerback early in the draft. Ohio State product Bradley Roby is a solid option to line up opposite Talib. The explosive prospect had a couple rough games in 2013, but you could argue he's the most gifted corner in this year's group. If Roby's not available, TCU's Jason Verrett would also be a good fit. He lacks size (5-foot-9), but he's dripping with instincts and toughness, enabling him to line up over the slot or on the outside.
2) Wide receiver
Eric Decker's departure to the New York Jets, left an opening in Denver's high-octane offense. With so much depth at the receiver position in the 2014 class, I think the Broncos can wait until later in the draft to nab their guy. Peyton Manning will love playing with LSU wideout Jarvis Landry, who catches everything. Although he didn't turn heads with his 4.77-second 40-yard time at the NFL Scouting Combine, the receiver's game isn't built on speed; it's built on his strong hands and toughness. And, did I mention he catches everything?
3) Offensive guard
Keeping Peyton Manning, who turns 38 later this month, on his feet is a top priority for the Broncos, which is why I could see them selecting an offensive lineman in May. Xavier Su'a-Filo from UCLA is a guy who could step in and replace Zane Beadles -- who signed with the Jaguars on Tuesday -- if they look to address this need in the first round. But the Broncos could wait and potentially take Gabe Jackson with their second-round pick (No. 63 overall). The Mississippi State guard has the size (6-foot-3, 336 pounds) and strength (30 reps on the bench press) to anchor the offensive line against pass rushers, which would help Manning (and every Broncos fan) sleep easier at night.
Denver chose not to re-sign Wesley Woodyard, leaving a void in the middle of the defense. Taking a linebacker in the early rounds makes sense, and Ryan Shazier would fit well. The former Ohio State linebacker is better against the pass than he is the run, but that's not too much of a concern because he'd be joining a unit that regularly plays with the lead.
Brooks: Best fits for top prospects
In advance of the 2014 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is examining potential landing spots for high-profile players in this class. **READ**
So what will the Broncos do with their first-round pick (No. 31 overall)? Here's what NFL Media's analysts see happening, according to their mock draft projections (click here for full mock drafts):