Are the Denver Broncos the AFC’s most improved team?

Denver Broncos (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Are Vic Fangio’s Denver Broncos a team to watch this upcoming season?

They began the 2019 with a new head coach and four consecutive losses. And by season’s end, the Denver Broncos did post a third consecutive losing season. A team that won Super Bowl 50 in 2015 and began the following year a perfect 4-0 has now dropped 37 of its last 60 regular-season games.

But a much closer look at Vic Fangio’s club shows that his squad closed with seven victories in their final 12 outings. And that included four wins in their last five contests — the lone loss over that stretch to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

While a 7-9 record is hardly anything to get excited about, it was the close of the season with rookie quarterback Drew Lock at the controls that was eye-opening. That and the fact that after a slow start in which the team failed to come up with a sack in their first three games and did not force a turnover during the club’s 0-4 start, the Denver defense emerged as a force by year’s end.

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This offseason, Nicki Jhabvala reports (via Aniello Piro of Mile High Sports) that Lock has been getting some work in with teammates.

General manager Elway bolstered the club’s pass-catching corps by using the team’s first two picks on wide receivers Jerry Jeudy (1-Alabama) and K.J. Hamler (2-Penn State). The offense added former Chargers’ Pro Bowler Melvin Gordon to the backfield and ex-Lions’ blocker, Graham Glasgow, up front.

Back to the defense. This offseason, the Broncos managed to acquire five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jurrell Casey for a seventh-round pick (via Grant Gordon of And they also dealt for cornerback A.J. Bouye, acquiring the talented defender from Jacksonville for a fourth-round selection this year.

The pieces appear to be in place. Adding Casey and Bouye to a unit spearheaded by Von Miller makes Fangio’s unit more formidable. And Lock has the opportunity to build on his solid finish from a year ago and is now surrounded with even more options as Gordon and Jeudy join running back Phillip Lindsay, wideout Courtland Sutton and tight end Noah Fant.

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The Denver Broncos appear to be a team very much on the rise. Are they done adding veteran talent this offseason? And can they finally push the defending Chiefs in the AFC West?