Eight NFL teams are currently looking for a new head coach.
The Denver Broncos are the best landing spot, according to former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky.
The strength of their roster means they’re only one player away from potential greatness.
As 14 teams begin their fight in the NFL postseason, the other 18 teams are already looking towards 2022. For many of them, that means cleaning house.
After this week’s proverbial “Black Monday,” eight teams (25% of the league) are in the market for a new head coach. While each gig has advantages and disadvantages, according to former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky, one job opening stands above the rest: the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos being at the top of Orlovsky’s list might be something of a surprise to football fans. Other potential destinations for a top coach include teams featuring young quarterbacks set for future stardom, including Justin Fields in Chicago and Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville.
But speaking with “The Dan Patrick Show,” Orlovsky laid out a strong case for having the Broncos as the best available coaching job in the league.
The Broncos’ roster is already loaded
“Denver’s got a phenomenal roster, they’ve got great young skill talent,” Orlovsky explained. “Two good backs, one being very young. A solid offensive line. [Cornerback Patrick] Surtain looks like a superstar. You just gotta get a quarterback.”
While other teams sport young, talented quarterbacks as their biggest attraction, the Broncos have young talent up and down the roster. With an average age of just 25.94, the Broncos entered 2021 with the 12th youngest roster in the league, including just nine position players over 30. Further, their young talent has room to grow.
Surtain (age 21) could soon be one of the best corners in the league, and playing alongside Kyle Fuller (age 29), he already has one heck of a teammate to help him get there. At running back, rookie Javonte Williams (age 21) emerged as a potential game-breaker, splitting carries with veteran Melvin Gordon who is set to enter free agency this offseason.
But the true highlight of the Broncos’ young talent is the wide receivers — Courtland Sutton (26), Jerry Jeudy (22), K.J. Hamler (22), and Tim Patrick (28).
Sutton is already an elite pass-catcher, and at six-foot-four, an extremely tough matchup for opposing defenses. Jeudy is a speedster capable of stretching the field for the entire offense while also having good enough hands to make short plays when called. Hamler is set to be a menace out of the slot, although an ACL tear cut short his 2021 campaign. Patrick, the group veteran, is a do-it-all playmaker who took on a bigger role in the offense after Jeudy and Hamler suffered their injuries early in the 2021 season.
Along with tight end Noah Fant (24), this receiving corps could feasibly become the stars of one of the most feared passing attacks in the league. All five players are under contract with the Broncos for at least two more seasons.
Looking across the NFL, the only team that comes close to a similar set of young stars at receiver is the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Broncos receiving corps is ready to wreak havoc on the league, and all they need is the right guy to get them the ball.
The biggest problem is they don’t have a quarterback yet
The Broncos have infamously struggled to find the right quarterback ever since Peyton Manning retired into glory right after leading Denver to victory in Super Bowl 50.
As things stand, Drew Lock is the only quarterback on the Broncos roster under contract for 2022, with Teddy Bridgewater a free agent and backup Brett Rypien a restricted free agent. Where the Broncos’ depth at receiver stands out as a huge plus, their current quarterback situation is quite the opposite.
Undoubtedly, the first big move of whoever winds up taking the head coaching job in Denver will be to work with the team’s front office to find their quarterback of the future.
Luckily for the Broncos, there’s a chance that 2022 is a great year to find a quarterback to fill in for your ready-to-go roster.
“The Broncos already have 95% of the puzzle done,” Orlovsky said. “Now, the one missing piece is obviously the missing piece. But we’ve got [Aaron] Rodgers potentially on the market. We’ve got Russell [Wilson] potentially on the market. We’ve got Baker Mayfield potentially on the market. We’ve got Deshaun Watson on the market, whatever your opinion on that situation is and how the league is handling it. And then obviously we have the draft.”
Should Rodgers, Wilson, or Mayfield become available at any point this offseason, the Broncos’ already well-rounded roster, especially their talent at receiver, will be a strong selling point. Veteran talents like those three are not looking to head off to another rebuilding project in New York, Carolina, or Detroit. They are looking to win now, and the Broncos might be the team most ready to help them do it.
The pieces are in place for the right coach to make their mark
No matter who takes the head coaching job in Denver, and who ultimately starts taking snaps for the team under center in 2022, the Broncos have their work cut out for them.
Even with the talent that makes them such a desirable destination, they still play in the AFC West, fighting divisional battles with the Chiefs, Chargers, and Raiders six times a year.
Still, the future looks bright for the Broncos, especially if they can land their next two important hires. There’s undoubtedly going to be plenty of worthy candidates for the top job in Denver.
If they find the right match, there’s no telling how far they could go.
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