ESPN Scouts Inc. NFL Rankings: Where Do The Denver Broncos Rank?

ESPN's Scouts Inc. has been rating the top NFL players overall and by position. Where do the Broncos show up?

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Kyle Orton, No. 22 Quarterback In ESPN Scouts Inc. Rankings

As we continue our look at ESPN's Scouts Inc. ratings at each position, the quarterback rankings are now available (Insider subscription needed) for us to dissect. How does the Denver Broncos' Kyle Orton stack up against the rest of the field? It's easier to just look at where he ranks among the AFC West's quarterbacks since we know he isn't anywhere near being an elite one. Here's how the AFC West starters play out:

6. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers - No qualms about this. He is a very good quarterback, and with Vincent Jackson around for a whole season (barring injury) and Antonio Gates also going strong, Rivers has plenty going for him.

16. Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs - Once upon a time Matt Cassel could have been in a Broncos uniform, but Josh McDaniels wasn't able to pull off the trade. Throwing to Dwayne Bow definitely helps him and the additions of Steve Breaston and Jonathan Baldwin provide him with other options. He hasn't been great during the preseason, but does that really matter?

21. Jason Campbell, Oakland Raiders - Has Campbell finally found a home where he can be the unquestioned starter? Oakland seems like the place, but Terrelle Pryor is in the background.

22. Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos - This seems about right. We know Orton isn't a difference-maker at the position and he has problems finishing strong during the second half of the season. Will having challengers to his position help him improve his game this season?

Tim Tebow comes in just five spots after Orton, which shows that there are some evaluators who do believe in Tebow as an NFL quarterback. However, Brady Quinn comes in at No. 78. It appears that these rankings are based on previous work, as Quinn would likely move up if 2011 preseason performance was factored in.


ESPN Scouts Inc. Top Running Backs: Broncos' Knowshon Moreno Inside Top 40

In the late 1990s and the early 2000s, ESPN's Scouts Inc. would likely have had a Denver Broncos running back in the top 25 and certainly in the top five when Terrell Davis was at his best. But, as we all know, the Broncos running game has fallen by the wayside over the last couple of seasons. Former head coach Josh McDaniels went to a pass-happy offense and the running game suffered as a result.

Still, one of McDaniels' draft picks is still with the team: running back Knowshon Moreno, taken No. 12 overall in 2009. But he has failed to live up the expectations of that selection in his two seasons. Scouts Inc. has Moreno rated (Insider subscription required) the No. 38 overall running back in league with a 70 overall grade. That's the same grade given to the Jets' LaDainian Tomlinson. And right after Tomlinson is Moreno's teammate, Willis McGahee. McGahee's ranking is just about right since he will be a part-time player, gaining most of his working inside the red zone. Moreno, on the other hand, could move up the rankings significantly if he has a breakout season, like he suspects he will. John Fox's run-heavy offense could help with that.

In the AFC West, the Kansas City Chiefs' Jamaal Charles comes in as the No. 3 running back in the league. The Raiders' Darren McFadden checks in at No. 7. McFadden destroyed the Broncos last season with 165 rushing yards and three run rushing touchdowns in the first game and 119 yards in the second. The Chargers' Ryan Mathews appears at No. 29.

The Broncos' defensive line better be up to the task of stopping the run this season or it may be a long year.

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