The Broncos announced earlier this week they would be enshrining legendary head coach Mike Shanahan in their Ring of Fame in 2021, leading to the question, what other Broncos could see themselves enshrined?
1. Von Miller
The no-brainer in the top spot has to be Von Miller. He’s a top-five Bronco of all time, and you can make an incredibly strong argument he’s the greatest defensive player in franchise history.
Over the course of his nine years in Denver, Miller has been named to nine Pro Bowls, three first-team All-Pro units, won defensive rookie of the year, was named to the 2010’s All-Decade team and, most importantly of all, was named Super Bowl 50 MVP. Also, his 106 career sacks rank as the 25th-most all-time, and the most in franchise history.
He’s the only active Bronco who could retire today and be enshrined in the Ring of Fame, and probably the Hall of Fame too, without a question. In fact, his career in Denver has been so prolific, he might even get his number retired if he continues on his current trajectory.
2. Justin Simmons
When creating this list, the three factors that have to be considered are talent, of course, projected longevity with the team, and character. Justin Simmons checks all three of those boxes with flying colors.
In his first season playing under Vic Fangio, Simmons emerged as one of the league’s best young safeties, as he was named to his first All-Pro team, and his play should only continue to improve with more time under Fangio.
Also, since being drafted in 2016, he’s been widely heralded through Denver’s locker room by players like Will Parks for his incredible leadership skills. His creation of the Justin Simmons foundation this offseason further demonstrates his exceptionally high character. Combine all of that with his talent, and he’s primed to be the face of the Orange Crush defense for years to come.
The one potential pothole on Simmons’ road to the Ring of Fame is his current contract negotiations with the team. He has yet to sign his contract extension, meaning he could be a free agent at the end of next season. Fortunately for Broncos fans, all reports suggest those negotiations with Simmons are going well and trending towards a deal that will make him a Bronco for life, but for now, whether or not it will come to fruition remains unknown.
3. Courtland Sutton
Courtland Sutton finds himself in a very similar position to Simmons, as he holds a lot of the same positives and question marks that the Broncos’ star safety has.
As far as pros go, like Simmons he has unbelievable talent, is emerging as one of the league’s star young receivers, and possesses fantastic character and work ethic. However, also like Simmons, he’s very inexperienced, entering just his third season with the Broncos, and his long-term future with the franchise isn’t guaranteed after 2022.
It would be fairly shocking if the Broncos chose not to give Sutton a long-term deal, but crazier things have happened in the NFL. Even still, it’s far too early in Sutton’s career to expect him to be enshrined in the Broncos’ Ring of Fame, though his talent is undeniable.
Bradley Chubb: Chubb has only played one full season with the team and his coming off his second ACL tear, which makes it incredibly hard to project how his career will go, but if everything clicks together, he clearly has the talent level to eventually be regarded as one of the Broncos’ greatest defenders.
Phillip Lindsay: Lindsay’s career is off to an incredible start for an undrafted free agent. He already has two 1,000-yard seasons and a Pro Bowl nod under his belt, and the fact that he’s “The Colorado Kid” certainly helps his chances of being enshrined. That said, 2020 is his last season under contract, and with Melvin Gordon on the roster, Lindsay’s future is up in the air.
Drew Lock: Lock is more of an unknown commodity than any other player on this list, because no one can judge how good a quarterback is based on five games. That said, he sneaks on because he’s a quarterback, and if he lives up to his potential, he’ll be the face of the franchise for years to come, and maybe even a Ring of Famer.