The Denver Broncos moved quickly during the first day of NFL Free Agency to secure their starter at defensive end. Zach Allen reunites with Vance Joseph this season in Denver.

Denver Broncos aiming for Zach Allen to continue growth path at defensive end

Zach Allen has demonstrated consistent growth throughout the first four years of his NFL career. Ironically for him, he gets to continue on his trajectory with his career-long defensive coordinator Vance Joseph who is calling plays for Denver this season.

Allen was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. During his four seasons in Arizona, Allen appeared in 45 total games on defense and started in 35 of them.

He’ll play at defensive end for Denver this upcoming season, but has some positional versatility having played snaps on the defensive interior as well.

For the past two seasons, Allen emerged as one of the Cardinals’ key starters on the defensive line. He set a new career-high in sacks in 2022, registering 5.5 in just 13 games of action.

In comparison to former Broncos starter Dre’Mont Jones who is now a member of the Seattle Seahawks, Allen had one less sack in the same amount of games — but had an incredibly high pressure rate in 2022.

Through 13 games last season, Allen pressured opposing quarterbacks 25 times which is an insane number even through that many games. Jones had 6.5 sacks in 13 games while pressuring opposing quarterbacks 16 times.

While Denver would have wanted Jones back, they ultimately decided that moving on was the better option for them as they transition into a new era under head coach Sean Payton.

Allen will enter a defensive line room where he’ll be an experienced voice alongside Mike Purcell and D.J. Jones. This move will benefit and assist in the further development of Eyioma Uwazurike and Matt Henningsen who are both entering their second season with the team.

Marcus Dixon’s return as the team’s defensive line coach was a crucial move made by Payton and general manager George Paton in terms of preserving the mentality of the position room.

Dixon helped aid in the development of Uwazurike and Henningsen, veterans like DeShawn Williams, both Jones’s, and Purcell. Allen will benefit from Dixon’s coaching style.

Toward the end of last season, the Broncos’ defense struggled to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks when Dre’Mont suffered a season-ending hip injury that landed him on injured reserve.

Adding Allen to the room is a strong get for the Broncos defense who looks to build on the success they had last season while the offensive side of the ball struggled.