31 Days to the Draft: AFC West holes
Forget about Cutler, the Broncos have bigger problems to fix
With 31 days until the draft, Football Outsiders is taking a tour of the NFL to identify the biggest holes each team has left on its roster and the best possible way to plug those holes. After stops in the NFC East, AFC East, NFC South, AFC South, NFC North, AFC North and NFC West the series continues today with a look at the AFC West.
Biggest Hole: Defensive Line
Assuming Josh McDaniels and Jay Cutler can work together like, I don't know, grown men or something, there will be nothing wrong with the Denver offense in 2009. Broncos show up all over the leaderboard for almost all our offensive statistics, including the league's best run-blocking offensive line. As universally effective as they were when attacking, they were just as universally useless on the other side of the ball, ranking 31st overall (ahead of only the lowly Lions), 31st against the pass and 27th against the run according to Football Outsiders' advanced DVOA ratings. They've already tweaked the back end of their defense, bringing in safety Brian Dawkins from Philadelphia. That should help them in coverage, and also help fix the biggest weakness in their run defense -- the damage done by big plays. According to our numbers, no other defense gave up a higher percentage of rushing yards on big plays (10 or more yards) last season.To see the solutions for the Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers, please sign in to ESPN Insider (or register with the service).
2009 NFL Draft