In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, the Broncos knew the Seattle Seahawks were the younger team.
A few minutes into the game, the Broncos discovered the Seahawks were also decidedly better.
It has been said the NFL is a young man's game, and the Broncos should need no more convincing. To get better for the 2014 season, they'll have to get younger.
Step 1 to the youth movement begins this week with the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, where 335 prospects are available for measurements, interviews and physical demonstration.
The Broncos won't pick until the No. 31 overall selection in the NFL draft, which has been pushed back two weeks to May 8. But no excuses this year.
"From my perspective, this is the deepest and best draft class that I've seen in probably 10 years," said Mike Mayock, the NFL Network's chief draft expert. "I had one general manager tell me the other day that having a top-20 pick this year is very similar to having a top-10 pick last year."
The Broncos' primary needs are all on defense. They might be in the market for a guard-center if they don't re-sign four-year starter and free agent Zane Beadles.
Otherwise, when a team sets an NFL scoring record by scoring 37.9 points per game and ranks 22nd in scoring defense at 24.9 points, it's obvious which side needs to be addressed.
Whether they utilize free agency or the draft, here are the positions the Broncos must address:
Middle linebacker: Keith Brooking, 37, and Paris Lenon, 36, finished as the starters the previous two years. Mayock loves Wisconsin's Chris Borland.
"Most people would say that's a little high, a little rich for Chris Borland, but I don't believe that," Mayock said in a conference call Tuesday. "I think Borland could step in and immediately stabilize that whole situation."
Cornerback: Champ Bailey will turn 36 in June and is due to make $10 million. Chris Harris is coming off ACL surgery. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a free agent.
Kayvon Webster will be ready for more playing time in 2014, but the Broncos may need two more. And they like them Seahawks-sized, which means large, as cornerbacks go.
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has the Broncos taking Ohio State's Bradley Roby (5-foot-11, 192 pounds) at No. 31. Mayock likes Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller (6-0, 190).
But this draft is deep with cornerbacks.
"Somebody like Keith McGill, you can get him in the second or third round from Utah," Mayock said.
Safety: Mike Adams is a free agent. Free safety Rahim Moore's unique lower left leg circulation condition is a concern. And strong safety Duke Ihenacho faded.
Mayock believes the Broncos could do worse than to take Florida State's Lamarcus Joyner at No. 31.
Defensive end: The Broncos may lose Shaun Phillips and Robert Ayers to free agency. And the recovery of Derek Wolfe, as with Moore, has some uncertainty.
WalterFootball.com has the Broncos taking Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt, a 300-pound defensive end, at No. 31. Mayock is intrigued by Oregon State's Scott Crichton.
Combining for Colorado
These five players from Colorado schools will participate in the NFL combine this week in Indianapolis:
Player, position, college
Kapri Bibbs, RB, CSU
Crockett Gillmore, TE, CSU
Michael Pennel, DT, CSU-Pueblo Paul Richardson, WR, CU
Weston Richburg, C, CSU