Three players for the Denver Broncos experienced some ups and downs last season, but as a new season approaches, they shouldn’t be written off.

As the Broncos continue their preparation under a new slate with head coach Sean Payton, several players have been prematurely written off by some fans and media outlets.

Kareem Jackson’s return has a positive impact for the Denver Broncos

Kareem Jackson returns to the Broncos for his 14th season in the NFL and fifth overall with the team. After initially waiting past the final stages of NFL Free Agency, Jackson signed a one-year deal for the third consecutive season to remain part of the Broncos secondary.

Last season, Jackson played 100% of the team’s defensive snaps which is a testament to how he takes care of his body year-round. Considering how much the Broncos defense was on the field makes it even more impressive.

As players gain traction in the age department in the NFL, many people begin to write them off. For Jackson, it would be naive to think he still can’t have an impact for the Broncos defensively.

When he was a member of the Houston Texans, Vance Joseph was his position coach in 2011. Now Joseph will be his defensive coordinator here this upcoming season.

One thing to keep an eye on is third-year safety Caden Sterns who many believe will start next to Justin Simmons this upcoming season. Even if Sterns is the starter, Jackson can still play a pivotal role on the field.

It wouldn’t come as a surprise if both Sterns and Jackson have various roles defensively whether that be on the backend playing the middle of the field, rotating down into the box, or playing inside the nickel or dime.

Having the flexibility to play around with personnel is something Joseph and defensive backs coach Christian Parker have the luxury of being able to do.

There’s a reason that Sean Payton and George Paton wanted Jackson to be part of the roster nucleus going into this upcoming season, therefore he shouldn’t be counted out.

Randy Gregory being fully healthy is exactly what the Broncos need

There were some questions surrounding Paton’s decision to sign Randy Gregory in free agency last year — passing up re-signing Denver Broncos legend Von Miller in the process.

Gregory has all of the talent and tools as a pass rusher — elite size, speed off the edge, and physicality that make him uniquely dangerous on the field. Shortly after the Broncos signed him in free agency, he had an arthroscopic shoulder procedure that the team was well aware of.

Even though he was unable to participate in OTAs last year and most of training camp, he was still ready for Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks. Throughout his first four weeks he made his presence felt in the pass rush department, against the run, and more importantly, created sack opportunities for other players based on his pressure and the attention he received from several offenses.

It’s easy to see why Paton pursued signing him. Unfortunately for Gregory, he suffered a torn meniscus in Week 4 which sidelined him for a good portion of the season.

Nobody was more frustrated about the injury and how things played out than Gregory himself.  He’s a competitor, he wants to win and wants to help contribute to that department.

Some fans and media outlets have written him off due to his availability last season, but he’s been fully healthy and visible during Broncos OTAs. If he can maintain a healthy status going into the season and sustain that throughout the year, he’ll be the team’s premier edge rusher and I’d be willing to bet he’d be the team’s sack leader this upcoming season.

Jonas Griffith could be waiting in the wings for the Denver Broncos

After signing his exclusive rights tender this offseason, Jonas Griffith will be back for the Broncos this season. An offseason extension and drafting of an inside linebacker during the 2023 NFL Draft creates questions about where Griffith’s status may be.

Alex Singleton received a three-year extension this offseason which keeps him in Denver for the foreseeable future, while rookie Drew Sanders was taken in the third round. That makes Denver’s linebacker room consist of Josey Jewell, Singleton, Sanders, Griffith, and Justin Strnad as the projected room this upcoming season.

How does Griffith fit into the mix? Initially, Paton traded for Griffith two years ago after the preseason because Denver needed help on special teams and with their depth at linebacker. Under former head coach Vic Fangio, Griffith started the final four games of 2021 and accumulated 40 total tackles in that four-game stretch.

His conclusion to 2021 primed him for a starting role going into 2022. Unfortunately, Griffith suffered a season-ending foot injury midway through the season that sidelined him for the remainder of the year while Singleton emerged as a permanent starter.

It’s important to note that Jewell is entering the final year of his contract with the Broncos and Griffith will become a restricted free agent after this season, which gives the team plenty of control going forward.

The Broncos linebacker has too much talent to be discarded and is viewed internally as a developmental player with starter potential. Having starter quality depth is important for one of the NFL’s most physically demanding positions and considering Denver’s history of linebacker injuries last season, it’s smart to keep your investment in Griffith in play.

Even if he doesn’t start this season, Griffith can immerse himself as one of the team’s best special teams players under the direction of assistant head coach Mike Westhoff and new special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica.

For these reasons, he shouldn’t be written off.