Everyone is so quick to point the finger at the Broncos’ offense as the primary culprit for the Broncos’ first missed playoff season since 2011. But looking deeper into last season reveals that though the Broncos’ offense faltered, its special teams did not provide the team with any sort of help.

Often, the Broncos found themselves backed up in their own territory, losing the battle for field position more often than they would have hoped for.

The primary reason to his was due to the Broncos’ lack of playmakers on special teams, particularly at kick and punt returner.

When he gave Jordan Norwood a shove following a muffed punt, “No Fly Zone” leader Aqib Talib shared the same frustration that most fans felt during a tough 2016 season on special teams.

In order to get some production from the special teams unit, the Broncos experimented with having Emmanuel Sanders return punts, which caused many fans to cringe due to the risk of injury.

Broncos fans can exhale now, as they no longer need to worry about a potential Sanders injury while running back a punt return.

These problems appear to be a thing of the past, as the Broncos put an emphasis on upgrading the special teams unit through the 2017 draft class.

In the mile-high air, the position of punt returner is especially crucial on special teams due to the large number of touchbacks that occur on kickoffs. The Broncos may have found their return ace for well into the future.

In the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Broncos selected returner/receiver Isaiah McKenzie, a 5-foot-7  speedster who is already “turning heads” as the Broncos continue into offseason workouts.

McKenzie primarily played the slot receiver position at Georgia, but never truly left his roots as a special team player. He should make an immediate impact for the Broncos and pick up where he left off at Georgia, where he scored six times on special teams in his three years with the Bulldogs.

New special teams coordinator Brock Olivio has already pegged McKenzie as his desired punt returner.

On the other end of special teams, another draft selection from the 2017 class, Brendan Langley, will look to be a contributor right away.

While still perhaps a little too raw as a cornerback to make a significant difference on defense, Langley also has experience playing special teams and will look to contribute there while he continues to grow and mature as a defensive back.

Langley has seen most of his playing time as a punt returner, but there he could make the most impact is at the “gunner” position, where his primary job will be to track down kick/punt returners before they can make a game-changing return.

At 6-foot, 200 pounds, Langley has the size and length to be an effective corner and with 4.43 40-yard dash speed, he has the build to be a solid special teams player as well.

Sixth-round pick Carlos Henderson has been known to make plays on special teams and could be seen as a kick returner to complement McKenzie’s punt returning.

The Broncos already posses two of the NFL’s best legs in Brandon McManus and Riley Dixon. Now, with this incoming group of rookies, they should have the players to continue making strides on special teams.