Pro Football Focus has released a list of its top 101 players of the 2010’s. The Broncos landed five players on the countdown from the past decade.
The first Bronco is Emmanuel Sanders, who ranks 87th on the list.
”Recovering from a torn Achilles and returning as if nothing happened only exemplifies the kind of incredible consistency we have seen from Emmanuel Sanders throughout his NFL career,” Sam Monson of PFF wrote. “Sanders has hauled in 92.5% of the catchable passes thrown his way in the decade, dropping just 4.9% of them.”
Sanders’ Super Bowl 50 teammate, Aqib Talib, was the next Bronco to make the list at No. 85. Denver’s secondary hasn’t been the same since trading Talib after the 2017 season.
”Aqib Talib was always a supremely talented cornerback, but it wasn’t until he found himself in a defensive scheme that suited his man-to-man coverage skills that we started to see what he was truly capable of,” wrote Monson. “In Talib’s best season (2015), he allowed a passer rating under 50.0 when targeted including the postseason.”
Denver’s historic “No Fly Zone” secondary had two inclusions on the list in Talib and Chris Harris Jr., who came in at No. 12 and has always been a PFF darling.
“An undrafted player out of Kansas, Harris forced his way onto the team as a nickel corner, played so well he earned snaps outside in base and then so well at that that he became a true No.1 cornerback who didn’t even play in the slot anymore,” wrote Monson. “Harris has been targeted over 600 times in the decade, and yet surrendered just 6.3 yards per reception. Over the course of the 2010s, only Richard Sherman allowed fewer receiving yards per snap in coverage than the 0.89 Chris Harris did, and nobody did it with a more varied role within his defense or a tougher path to success than hitting the league as an undrafted free agent.”
The Broncos’ highest-ranked offensive player was Peyton Manning, who ranked 18th on the list, one spot ahead of Jason Peters, who Denver is reportedly interested in.
Of Manning, Monson wrote, “Manning’s late-career revival in Denver was a remarkable thing to watch. Fresh off a neck injury that threatened to end his career, Manning retaught himself how to play the game within his new physical limitations and then put up back to back seasons with a PFF grade above 90.0, including the greatest statistical season of his career with 55 touchdown passes and almost 5,500 yards.”
The top dog overall for the Broncos in the 2010s though is, of course, Von Miller. Miller holds the No. 7 spot on PFF’s list, which makes him the third-highest ranked defensive player and the highest-ranked edge-rusher.
“There has been no better pure pass-rusher of the decade than Von Miller, who hit the ground running as a rookie and posted eight consecutive seasons with a PFF grade north of 90.0 to begin his career,” wrote Monson. “He has 40 more total pressures than any other pass-rusher over the decade and the best pass-rush win rate and pressure rate of any edge rusher. When the Broncos won their Super Bowl, Miller was arguably the single-biggest differentiator between the two teams. And in that game, he had a PFF grade of 94.7, pressuring Cam Newton eight times, sacking him three times, forcing two fumbles and recording a pass breakup.”
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall also made the list at No. 68 but all of his highlights in orange and blue came before 2010.