Denver’s dynamic pass rush will be destructive.
With Von Miller, anything is possible. But, we all know the Broncos pass-rush is much more than a one-man show.
Miller might be the league’s best pass-rusher, and makes the Broncos a top-10 unit by himself, but the Broncos ranked only 10th in pressure percentage last year thanks to inconsistency by key players (Shaq Barrett and Derek Wolfe, especially), injury to others (Shane Ray), and an underwhelming second season by DeMarcus Walker, Miller’s job was made more difficult. The Broncos’ defense suffered as a result, and according to Pro Football Focus, they’re the No. 7 pass-rush in the NFL entering 2018.
Unless rookie Bradley Chubb immediately lives up to the hype (or either free agents to-be Ray or Barrett step up instead), the Broncos have a defined ceiling — and they won’t be as dangerous a pass-rushing team as most fans think they are.
On Chubb, we’ll have to wait and see what he can do on Sundays. Sometimes, even the highest-drafted players take half or an entire season to find their potential, although, the greats — like Miller — find a way to explode on the scene.
If it is Chubb who enjoys a breakout, rookie season, that’s a best-case scenario for the Broncos, as he’ll be a cornerstone they can build off of for many years to come. But, don’t discount Barrett’s ability to get after the quarterback.
The former Colorado State star filled in for the injured Ray last year, starting nine games and enjoying the best grade for an edge rusher on the Broncos outside of Miller (82.1) by PFF. While his 4.0 sacks weren’t eye-popping, Shaq does more than that; he forced two fumbles and recovered one as well.
Also worth nothing: Three of Barrett’s four sacks last year came in the first seven weeks, when he was the full-time guy. When he started sharing reps, the production dropped off some.
More on Miller:
A triple-double is usually a stat found in basketball, but PFF has introduced their own triple-double. That’s right, players with double-digit sacks, hits and pressures have achieved the feat, and only 14 edge-defenders did so last year. No surprise here: Miller’s at the top of the list.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 2, 2018
Miller has long been the best pass-rusher in the AFC West, but he’s been battling against Khalil Mack for that title, and now, Joey Bosa is chasing them both. Here, Pro Football Focus shows the leaders in pressures by players drafted since 2006, after 1-6 seasons.
A look at the NFL's leaders in total pressures after their first 16, 32, 48, 64, 80 and 96 games. pic.twitter.com/dSTWmw3A4N
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 9, 2018
Miller’s simply a once-in-a-generation talent and he’s arguably already the Broncos best-ever defender. With him alone, the Denver pass rush would scare nearly any opponent. But, he’s got friends in Barrett, Chubb, Ray, Wolfe and more.
While seventh-best may be an appropriate ranking in the preseason, this group has the potential to be the best in the NFL.