The Denver Broncos did more to their cornerback room this offseason than any other position group on the team. But, maybe their best corner of the extremely talented group was already on the team.
Yes, Kyle Fuller will be a baller, and the fact he played in Vic Fangio’s defense in Chicago gives him a leg up to immediately contribute as a starter. Ronald Darby, too, should be a great starter for the Broncos on the outside, able to use his experience and technique to shut down opponents.
And first-round pick Patrick Surtain II is the highly-anticipated, should-be Pro Bowler for years to come. And he may even win a starting spot over, say, Darby if he continues to perform in training camp like he did in OTAs.
But, often overlooked is Bryce Callahan, who specializes in the slot but can play on the outside, too.
Callahan recently earned a spot on Pro Football Focus’ top-50 list, coming in at No. 36 overall.
“Callahan may be the most underrated player in the NFL,” PFF writes. “An undersized slot corner by trade, he was asked to moonlight on the outside as a perimeter corner multiple times last season due to injuries in the Denver secondary. He didn’t just hold up; he continued to thrive.
“Callahan allowed a passer rating of 46.9 into his coverage in 2020, the best mark in the NFL. He didn’t allow a touchdown or even a completion longer than 19 yards all season despite playing outside of his natural position for extended periods. If he can back up that kind of performance, he will remain one of the best players in the league — at any position.”
The Broncos’ defensive backfield was devastated by injury last season, and thanks to the great additions this year by new GM George Paton, the team will be prepared for the long and grueling grind of the season. But either way, Callahan will be there to do whatever is needed most out of him.
Overall, Callahan’s 84.1 grade was third-best, as was his 86.7 coverage grade among all cornerbacks in the league per PFF. He also defensed five passes and recovered a fumble, and even though he was underutilized as a pass rusher, he can get after the quarterback when asked to as well.
With so many new faces, Callahan will be the one steady member of the cornerback room from the last two years. He’s a veteran and the team has to hope he’s a leader to the newcomers and Surtain as well.
The Broncos’ secondary is absolutely stacked with talent and could be the best group on the back end of a defense in the entire league. If Denver wants to get back to the playoffs this year, that group will likely lead them there.