Justin Simmons named All-Pro, Dalton Risner also honored by PFF

Justin Simmons. Credit: Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports.
Justin Simmons. Credit: Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports.

Pro Football Focus, the authority in NFL analytics, has honored two Broncos players for their individual performances this season.

Justin Simmons, who exploded onto the scene this year as a true star, was named to the PFF All-Pro Team while right guard Dalton Risner was named to the site’s All-Rookie team.

Simmons was a complete leader for the Broncos defense this year.

“The best-graded safety in the NFL this season, Denver’s Justin Simmons has been a stellar performer in all areas,” PFF writes. “Simmons wasn’t in primary coverage for any touchdowns given up in coverage but had four interceptions and 11 pass breakups. He also ranked 11th in terms of defensive stops among all safeties, showing his ability to make plays all over the field. Whether he was lined up deep in the secondary or close to the line in the box, Simmons was making plays all year.”

Simmons was second on the team, only to Todd Davis, in terms of combined tackles with 93. The safety’s 15 passes defended were far and away his career-high, as were the four interceptions this year; both were team-highs as well.

Furthermore, as PFF said, Simmons’ 90.8 grade was the highest among all safeties this season and it hits in their “elite” status. Compared to the other safeties in the top-15 of their grading, the Broncos’ rising star is also the best tackler, by far, and the best run defender as well.

Probably his biggest highlight reel worthy play this season came near the end of the year, a sliding, spectacular interception off of Patrick Mahomes in the red zone in the snow.

Simmons, who just finished up his fourth year with the Broncos, needs a new contract and fast. He’s entering the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, though he’s said he wants to stay with Denver for the long-term.

As for Risner, PFF was impressed by the rookie guard.

“We haven’t seen the same elite-level play that we saw from him in college, but Risner’s play at guard was solid as a rookie this season. His 63.5 overall grade at left guard ranked 19th among 39 qualifiers at the position,” PFF writes. That means, Risner was the 19th-best guard in the NFL this year, playing better than a whole host of veterans at the position, too.

Risner’s highlight came in Week 3 when he carried Phillip Lindsay over the goal line against the Packers.

Risner is one of a handful of dynamic younsters for the Broncos which make the future seem bright. Lindsay just enjoyed his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season and Courtland Sutton hit the 1,000-yard receiving mark. Drew Lock impressed in his first five games and Simmons is a young star on the defense. Add in Bradley Chubb, who missed most of the year with an injury, and guys like Alexander Johnson and the Broncos are beaming with young talent.

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