The Broncos’ Real $64 Million Dollar Question

The 64 Million Dollar Question isn’t who will be the Broncos starting quarterback–it’s who will he be throwing to?

As DBZ evaluated  Mike McCoy likes tight ends. He usually keeps five on his rosters, while last season, the Broncos only had three. If Elway invests in McCoy’s vision, look for an additional TE or two on our roster in the fall. This is virtually a given. However, what McCoy has planned for slot receivers is the real question heading into the new season.

We know Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are our ‘X’ and ‘Z’ wideouts, even though on our current roster of players, E best fits the prototypical ‘Y’ receiver. That’s where our questions for the new Broncos O begins and may end. Do we draft a slot like Ryan Switzer? Does Christian McCafrey take care of two problems at once? Do we already have one? Do we need one?

Peyton Manning wrapped Jordan ‘Sunshine’ Taylor up in a bow (and a custom tailored suit) and dropped him on Kubiak’s head. The problem is Taylor’s 6’5″ 210lb frame is a better fit for the wideout, not the slot role. We are Mariana Trench deep in wideouts. It’s a good problem to have unless you’re looking for a safety net in the center of the field.

I haven’t seen Taylor in months. If he could add thirty pounds, or already did, he’d make a great catching TE, the 911 in the center of the field. However, based on the fact at 25 years old, he hasn’t gain weight since college, I’m guessing it’s a no-go.

Bennie Fowler has showed flashes of brilliance in his play. He’s even had a 100% catch stat for a few games in a stretch. Not to mention, THE CATCH, from P Money. However, Fowler is a depth guy and not a slot receiver.

Cody Latimer found his niche on Special Teams. But neither Taylor, Fowler or Latimer have consistently demonstrated they posses the Trifecta for a slot WR–speed, hands and route ability.

Khalif Raymond may be groomed for such a roll, and Andrew Mason has written he thinks he could fill it. However…

Of all these players, the only one with the proven size, quickness, speed and hands to be the slot, is the one who wants it the least: Emmanuel Sanders.

McCoy has shown he likes catching backs and tight ends carrying the load, but he has demonstrated the ability to adapt to the players on hand.

If an air game is where McCoy sees success, a two or three down slot could be added. When you have a big-bodied QB with a strong arm, you throw. You throw to whomever has hands. And throw some more. You get a pass and you get a pass and you get a pass.

If the Broncos add a true slot receiver, it means who we drafted at RB may not be the catching guy McCoy wants and that neither of the starting TEs can act as a panic button guy. If Denver has a TE whose Yards After Catch is very good, an offense can thrive without a slot.

Which circles us back around to how many WRs do we keep? As of now, we have six. All wideouts, except maybe Raymond. That’s a lot.

A couple of last year’s names may be on other teams come September, or rise to the top because of this scheme and Lynch’s throwing style. In his press conference today, Lynch brought up those throws downfield–his bread and butter. Those throws need precise route runners to succeed.

Who makes the 53 man roster in the receiving and tight end group for the Broncos will answer what will define our team more than who the starting QB is. How well the starting QB can air the ball will affect the balance and who plays where. That’s the real story. A story I can’t wait to read.

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