The Denver Broncos will return a significant portion of key defensive players this upcoming season, but Jonas Griffith could be the ultimate wildcard for Ejiro Evero.
How might the Broncos’ second-year player impact the team as a potential starter? Returning to a familiar scheme could help Griffith find his footing as a starter in the National Football League.
After the Broncos traded for Griffith following preseason roster cuts in 2021, Denver’s goal was to add impact players to Tom McMahon’s special teams unit. Griffith would be a “four-core” starter on all of the Broncos’ main special teams rotations.
In 2021, he appeared in 13 games for the Broncos and started the final four games of the season. In his four starts, he flashed serious potential, displaying quick instincts against the run and the ability to protect the middle of the field in coverage.
.@Broncos #JonasGriffin #50 took over the ILB job in the final month of 2021 and showed the #NFL that he is a player with size explosion and instincts. A rising star? Maybe only the #Broncos know. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/zg3dtq1NMx
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) June 1, 2022
Griffith registered 40 total tackles in just four games as a starter, playing a majority of the snaps defensively in those games. How do the Broncos plan on approaching this upcoming season at inside linebacker?
Jonas Griffith offers the Denver Broncos the best chance for success
As the Denver Broncos transition Baron Browing to edge rusher, Griffith stands to benefit the most by being an early favorite to start next to veteran linebacker Josey Jewell.
After moving on from veteran Alexander Johnson, the Broncos tendered Griffith who was a restricted free agent, opening the door for him to step into a more impactful role.
Despite George Paton adding former Philadelphia Eagles veteran Alex Singleton in free agency, the expectation is that Griffith could be the favorite to start in Ejiro Evero’s defense.
For instance, in today’s NFL, the offensive game has evolved into a spread/empty passing attack that tests how linebackers play the game.
As the Broncos run the modern 3-4 or nickel defense, most linebackers are required to cover running backs out of the backfield in man coverage in addition to disrupting receivers and tight ends on crossing patterns at the middle hook to curl spots.
However, in terms of position versatility, Griffith offers the Broncos the best overall chance to have success against both the run and pass this upcoming season.
The Broncos’ current linebacker room currently consists of Jewell, Griffith, Singleton, Justin Strnad, Barrington Wade, and undrafted rookies Kana’i Mauga and Kadofi Wright. With training camp nearly a month and a half away, there will be plenty of competition to start opposite of Jewell.
Griffith hopes to build off of his impressive audition from last season as new linebacker coach Peter Hansen aims to help the Broncos’ linebacking unit become one of the league’s best in 2022.