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Broncos offense given mediocre rating by ESPN

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos are sitting firmly in the middle of EPSN’s latest offensive weapons rankings, with the young core still being questioned by some analysts.

ESPN ranked each of the league’s 32 teams by their skill-position talent without including the impact of the quarterback, offensive line or scheme.

The Broncos came in at No. 17 — not necessarily exceptional, but also not the worst in the league (Houston Texans).

In 2020 the team was expected to make waves with numerous offensive weapons, but the season got quickly derailed by injuries.

“What looked like a cast of budding stars heading into 2020 didn’t pan out. Courtland Sutton tore an ACL in the opener, and while Tim Patrick had a quietly solid season in Sutton’s absence, it took a Week 17 performance against a lowly Raiders defense to get Jerry Jeudy’s rookie numbers looking decent,” Bill Barnwell wrote.

With big-name veterans returning from injuries the Broncos could make huge impacts on offense in 2021.

Sutton was a 2019 Pro Bowler who earned 1,112 yards and six touchdowns on 72 catches in his breakout season. The team is hoping the wide receiver comes back healthy and better than ever in 2021.

Jeudy had a disappointing rookie season. His 110 targets was second-most in his class and his 47.3 catch percentage put him dead last among the 14 rookies with at least 40 targets, per Pro Football Focus.

“The potential for a juggernaut — at least in terms of weapons — is still here. Sutton is back, and after struggling with drops last season, Jeudy should take a step forward and improve his 46% catch rate in Year 2,” Barnwell wrote.

The Broncos offense may be ready to strike gold, but without a true NFL caliber quarterback can the team make that leap?

“The pieces are here, but unless the Broncos get a breakout season from Drew Lock or trade for Aaron Rodgers, we might not get to see just how talented their weapons really are,” Barnwell wrote.