The Denver Broncos pass rush department should take a step forward this year as several players find themselves in a contract year, and younger players find themselves in a position for more reps. How does the Broncos outside linebacker room look going into training camp?

Denver Broncos Baron Browning, Jonathon Cooper looking to capitalize in contract year

Jonathon Cooper and Baron Browning are two of 46 Broncos players set to become unrestricted free agents after the 2024 NFL season. With the market at the position increasing in value nearly every offseason, they’ll look to capitalize this season by having an impactful campaign.

Both Browning and Cooper are the anticipated starters for the Broncos defense that looks to have a consistent rotation of four players they believe can impact getting after the quarterback. From a pressure standpoint, this unit will likely take a massive step forward in 2024.

Cooper led the Broncos in sacks last season, coming up with 8.5 sacks and 22 QB pressures. Browning finished the season with 4.5 sacks in 10 games after returning midway through the season after having knee surgery last offseason. If both players stay healthy, Broncos Country should be excited about the potential production they will provide. Both players stood out during OTAs and minicamp, as did the players behind them in the rotation.

That’s where Nik Bonitto and Jonah Elliss factor in next. The goal for the Broncos defensively is to apply more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, whether with the starters or when the backups come in during certain situational moments. Bonitto excelled in this role last season and could easily be a productive defensive starter.

He finished just behind Cooper in sacks, with eight in a rotational role and 24 quarterback pressures. During OTAs and minicamp, his burst and explosiveness off the edge were fully on display, and he was a consistent standout. Bonitto will be another player who is expected to have a significant impact this upcoming season.

Jonah Elliss was one of the standouts during OTAs and minicamp from the Bronco offseason program. He was disruptive against the run and pass, sniffing out screen plays and playing disciplined contain off the edge. Physically, he’s big and has the chance to evolve into a hybrid power and finesse player at the position.

Cooper, Browning, Bonitto, and Elliss should headline the team’s top four depth options at the position, especially with second-year linebacker Drew Sanders being ruled out indefinitely after he tore his Achilles during offseason workouts.

Broncos players fighting for a potential fifth spot in the rotation

The Denver Broncos have kept five players at outside linebacker on the active roster nearly every year to start the season. With Cooper, Browning, Bonitto, and Elliss being the top four at the position, there are several players who will fight for that spot.

Ronnie Perkins, Thomas Incoom, undrafted rookie free agent Jaylon Allen, and former UFL standout Dondrea Tillman will all compete for the opportunity.

Perkins is a veteran holdover who saw some minutes in the rotation during the regular season early on. Incoom made the 53-man roster last season as an undrafted rookie free agent and is looking to achieve the same feat in 2024. Allen will be the undrafted rookie from this year’s class who will look to make his case in the preseason. Tillman, on the other hand, is listed as an outside linebacker but looks more like a defensive end at the NFL level as a potential two-deep option behind Zach Allen and John Franklin-Myers.

Once the pads come on, these players will look to stack days during practices at training camp and carry that over into preseason play.

Denver Broncos outside linebacker personnel

  • Jonathon Cooper
  • Baron Browning
  • Nik Bonitto
  • Jonah Elliss
  • Ronnie Perkins
  • Thomas Incoom
  • Jaylon Allen
  • Dondrea Tillman

* Drew Sanders is out indefinitely after tearing his Achilles during the team’s offseason program. He could return late into the season.