The “Orange Crush”? the “No-Fly Zone”? Whichever nickname you prefer for the Denver Broncos defense doesn’t really matter — what does matter is that the Broncos’ defense is fearsome once more after the Broncos selected N.C. State edge-rusher Bradley Chubb with the fifth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Chubb, the draft’s highest-rated pass rusher, by far, will line up opposite of All-Pro Von Miller to give the Broncos one of the NFL’s best pass rushes. The last time the Broncos boasted such a pass rush was when future Hall of Famer DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller terrorized defenses en route to a Super Bowl 50 championship. The Broncos can finally bring back some of that same magic.
Despite finding quarterbacks Josh Rosen from UCLA and physical specimen Josh Allen from Wyoming still on the board, the Broncos went with the best player available with Chubb. Leading up to the draft process, Chubb stated in interviews that he models his game after Miller. Now, he will be Miller’s teammate as the Broncos look to rebound in 2018.
The Broncos absolutely nailed this selection. Not only did they get arguably the best defensive talent in the draft, they also bolster a lackluster pass rush that ranked 22nd in the NFL in total sacks. Chubb possesses a unique blend of speed and power that overwhelms opposing offensive linemen. A physical freak, Chubb, 6′ 4″ and 269 lbs., ran a 4.65 40-yard dash. Chubb is also a smart player who uses his instincts and sound technique to play disciplined, physical football at defensive end.
The Broncos now have a dynamic outside pass rush with a rotation of Miller, Chubb, Shaq Barrett, and former first-round pick Shane Ray. Combined with stalwart Derek Wolfe and up-and-coming pass rushers like Shelby Harris and DeMarcus Walker on the defensive line, the Broncos are going to make the lives of other AFC West quarterbacks very difficult.
The selection also puts Ray’s future with the team in question. The Broncos have yet to make a decision to pick up Ray’s fifth-year option. Since selecting Ray in the first round of the 2015 draft, he has struggled to produce like the player the Broncos were hoping he would be. Plagued by various injuries, Ray played in only eight games last year, recording only one sack. In his three seasons in the league, Ray has played in all 16 games only once in his career.
Regardless of the decision on Ray’s future, the Broncos found themselves an elite talent at the edge-rusher position that can step in and help the team immediately. Chubb’s presence should, theoretically, force teams to balance their offensive protection, giving Miller more one-on-one opportunities against offensive tackles.
After watching the division-rival Chargers wreak havoc on their offensive line with their pair of Pro Bowl pass rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, the Broncos decided they needed an enhanced pass rush of their own. Only time will tell if Chubb will be as great as Ware or as Miller, but he certainly possesses the tools to play at a Pro Bowl level. This time around, the Broncos got this pick right, and the fanbase must be ecstatic.
The nightmare pass rush that once carried the team to a Super Bowl isn’t in the rear-view mirror anymore; as a matter of fact, it might just be back with a vengeance.