PFF ranks Broncos defensive line in the NFL’s top 10

Shelby Harris celebrates. Credit: David Berding, USA TODAY Sports.
Shelby Harris celebrates. Credit: David Berding, USA TODAY Sports.

The Broncos defensive line in 2019 was an impressive group, but they got even better heading into 2020 by holding onto Shelby Harris while adding Jurrell Casey via trade and McTelvin Agim through the draft.

The unit now not only has a star-studded starting unit with Harris, Casey, and Mike Purcell in the trenches with Bradley Chubb and Von Miller coming off the edge, but incredible depth with Agim, Dre’Mont Jones, and DeMarcus Walker ready to rotate in and generate extra pass rush at any time, as well.

Pro Football Focus is also incredibly high on Denver’s defensive line, as they ranked them as the league’s seventh-best squad, but whether or not Miller can return to form this season remains a concern.

“His 79.3 grade marked the first time in his career he has graded below 90.0, and though he still notched 77 total pressures, his number of decisive pass-rush wins steeply declined, while his percentage of unblocked, cleanup and pursuit pressure spiked,” Wrote PFF’s Sam Monson. “Miller has been arguably the best pure edge rusher of his generation, and if he can’t return to that form, it’s a tough thing for Denver to replace.”

The Broncos will also need Chubb to bounce back from the torn ACL he suffered a season ago to maintain their lethal pass rush.

“Bradley Chubb’s second season was derailed by injury, but he would need to significantly build on his rookie season to be able to pick up Miller’s slack, as 13 sacks flattered his performance a little,” wrote Monson. “Inside, Shelby Harris and Mike Purcell both graded well last season, and now Jurrell Casey, who has been one of the most consistently disruptive interior players over the past decade, joins them.”

The Broncos’ interior pass rush should be one of the best in the league, as Casey and Harris combined for 61 total pressures in 2019, even though Casey is past his prime.

“Casey isn’t coming off his best year, but he still notched 40-plus pressures for the seventh consecutive season and had a 78.2 run-defense grade,” wrote Monson. “He should be an extremely useful rotation player inside, contributing to an extremely solid starting group for Denver that has the potential to be much better if Chubb takes a step forward in Year 3 and Miller gets back on track after a down season.”

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