Ranking the Broncos’ 5 best position groups

Von Miller and Bradley Chubb celebrate in 2018. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.
Von Miller and Bradley Chubb celebrate in 2018. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.

The Broncos transformed their roster a lot this season, and as a result, turned some of their position groups that were among the worst on the team in 2019, to some of the best units on the team in 2020.

Here are five strongest position groups for the Broncos, that have the potential to elevate them to the playoffs.

5. Running back

By signing Melvin Gordon to pair with Phillip Lindsay, the Broncos built one of the league’s best running back duos. Lindsay is one of just seven running backs to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons, and only four players have rushed for more touchdowns in the last seasons than Gordon.

How the two will mesh is still a mystery, but they should fit well, as they contrast and complement each other well. Lindsay has struggled in the passing game and his size prevents him from being a true power back, while Gordon thrives in both of those roles.

Also, Royce Freeman is much better than most teams’ third running back.

4. Wide receiver

From one of the Broncos’ weakest position groups to one of their best, no position group in Denver has transformed more this off-season than the wide receiver corps.

They already had a dominant No. 1 receiver in Courtland Sutton, who should take another leap in his development this season, now that he has more stability and talent at the quarterback position with Drew Lock.

Now, they also have a surprising amount of depth. Jerry Jeudy should hit the ground running as a rookie and will quickly emerge as the perfect Robin to Sutton’s Batman. Also, DaeSean Hamilton and Tim Patrick will fit much better as No. 3 options as opposed to being Sutton’s counterpart, and K.J. Hamler brings an element of speed to Denver’s offense that should make everything easier. Meanwhile, at the back end of the roster, Diontae Spencer and Tyrie Cleveland will be valuable special teamers.

The only reason this group isn’t higher is that a lot of the talent is still unproven.

3. Safety

Some might be surprised that Denver’s safeties rank this low on the list, but it isn’t a slight against the tandem of Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson. Instead, it’s merely praise of the Broncos’ defensive unit up front.

If we were just looking at starting talent, the Broncos’ safeties might have been the top unit on this list, but because there are serious question marks surrounding the depth behind Simmons and Jackson, they fall to the third spot.

Trey Marshall is a fine third man in the rotation, but he was a liability in coverage last season, allowing both a perfect completion percentage and passer rating when targeted. After him though, the Broncos’ safety position is a complete mystery for now.

2. Defensive line

The Broncos’ defensive line is easily the most underrated unit on the team.

The starting unit is immensely impressive, with Shelby Harris and Jurrell Casey forcing interior pressure at defensive end, as Mike Purcell stuffs the run. Both Harris and Casey were able to generate a lot of pressure on the interior last season, and Mike Purcell earned the highest run-stop percentage of any defensive lineman in the league last season.

Behind those three, the Broncos have Dre’Mont Jones, rookie McTelvin Agim, and DeMarcus Walker. Walker and Jones are both primed for a breakout season given their talent, and Jones was so impressive last season, that he might even challenge Purcell or Harris for their starting job. Agim is raw, but he’s a rare athlete on the interior who has the ability to blow up a play before it even has a chance of starting, and defensive line coach Bill Kollar will bring the best out of him.

1. Edge Rusher

Now that Bradley Chubb is back from his torn ACL and Von Miller is on his revenge tour after being labeled as ‘washed-up’ by much of sports media, there is no unit on the Broncos more dangerous than their edge rushers.

Not only is Denver’s edge-rush unit headlined by two potential All-Pro talents, but you could argue it’s the deepest position group on the roster as well.

Malik Reed was an adequate starter in place of Chubb as an undrafted rookie, and should only get better as he continues to develop an adjust to the pro game. Alongside Reed in the second unit is Jeremiah Attaochu, who closed the season incredibly strong, generating nine pressures and four sacks through the final 4 weeks of the season. Lastly, the Broncos third unit of Derrek Tuszka and Justin Hollins offers a lot of upside, and it wouldn’t be that surprising if either one became a starter later on in their career.

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