Free-agent-to-be Julius Thomas (pictured) lined up in the slot a lot during Denver's 2013 Super Bowl run. That doesn't mean new coach Gary Kubiak will use the position the same way, but if Thomas and slot maestro Wes Welker are out the door, that production needs to be replaced. If Peyton Manning says he's ready to return, John Elway will have to find him a more viable third option than Cody Latimer. Drafting Minnesota's Maxx Williams would be a good start.
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY SportsChris Humphreys
T.J. Ward became a star in his first year in Denver. The Broncos should be in hot pursuit of Ward's running mate this offseason, as impeding free agent Rahim Moore might test the market. The good news is that the Broncos' defensive backfield seems set wirth Ward and Aqib Talib. The bad news? This is the worst safety draft class in recent memory. Free agency might be the way to go.
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Denver's newest Brandon Marshall was a revelation when the injury bug gutted the inside of the team's defense. To reach Santa Clara, the Broncos need to locate a thumper who can replicate the success of Trevathan-Woodyard circa 2013. This year's draft class has several capable mid-round candidates, like Clemson's Stephone Anthony or Georgia's Ramik Wilson.
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Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton probably won't be squeezing through the Broncos' locker-room door next season. That loss leaves a gaping hole in what was the second-ranked rushing defense of 2014. Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense needs a clogger in the middle. At 330 pounds, Jordan Phillips of Oklahoma could be an early-round answer. UCLA's Ellis McCarthy or Northern Iowa's Xavier Williams could be mid-round guys, too.
Getty ImagesTom Pennington
Interior offensive line
The Broncos' mix-and-match offensive line won't help them back to a Super Bowl. And Peyton Manning won't like playoff football with his blockers out of position. That's why Denver could be on the hunt for as many as three new offensive linemen this offseason. Gary Kubiak could be transitioning to a bigger, bulkier blocking scheme — if so, LSU's La'el Collins or Stanford's Andrus Peat fits the bill.