Commentary

Horton: AFC West offseason needs

Breaking down the top six areas to address for every squad

Originally Published: April 20, 2011
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
Dwayne BoweJeff Curry/US PresswireThe Kansas City Chiefs need another wide receiving threat opposite Dwayne Bowe.

Amid the NFL labor situation, with no free agency yet, one thing is certain: There will be an NFL draft starting Thursday. With that come mock drafts (from Mel Kiper and Todd McShay) and team needs that must be met. Gary Horton examines the top six needs for every team in the NFL. Here is the file for the AFC West.

Denver Broncos

Top needs
1. Defensive end/tackle: With John Fox as the new head coach, this defense will likely switch back to a 4-3 after a failed experiment in the 3-4 scheme. They have personnel more suited for the 4-3 front, including former first-round pick Robert Ayers, but this defense needs a pass-rusher. They had just 23 sacks in 2010, and only three of those were produced by the starting defensive line.

2. Cornerback: Champ Bailey has been great, but he is entering his 13th season, Andre' Goodman always seems to be fighting injuries and Perrish Cox has legal problems. This secondary makes very few big plays and only had 10 interceptions in 2010. This unit desperately needs a good man cover corner. But again, a better pass rush would also help.

3. Safety: Offenses attack this team in the deep middle of the field because veteran Brian Dawkins can't cover enough ground anymore. Renaldo Hill lacks range and doesn't make a lot of plays and Darcel McBath always seems to be injured. They need a great athlete who can not only defend the pass, but also tackle in space.

4. Inside linebacker: When Elvis Dumervil went down with an injury in 2010, the Broncos' best inside linebacker, Mario Haggan, was forced to play outside. However, he will be solid when he can stay inside. The other ILB spot has Joe Mays and Wesley Woodyard, both guys who are decent but could be upgraded.


To read more about the top six needs for every AFC West team, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.