The analytics junkies over at Pro Football Focus released their list of the top 50 projected players for the 2020 season, and surprisingly only one Bronco made it.
Von Miller was the lone player in the orange and blue to make the list, which is a bit of a shock considering his relatively poor 2019 campaign. That shock is compounded by Justin Simmons‘ tremendous showing last season, which was touted by PFF as the best of any safety in the league.
“Von Miller’s play declined so dramatically last season that we don’t quite know what to expect from him in 2020 and beyond,” PFF’s Sam Monson wrote. “Miller began his career with eight-straight seasons with PFF grades over 90.0 before slipping to just 79.0 last year — and that number was propped up with a run-defense grade that remained north of 90.0. As a pass-rusher, he just wasn’t the same player, and the concern is that we’re seeing the beginning of a decline. Obviously, at his best Miller is one of the best players the game has ever seen. But now, for the first time, there’s a question as to whether we’ll see him in top form again.”
To Monson’s point, Von Miller’s pass-rushing grade took a Niagara-esque plummet in 2019, from a career-average of 89.94 to a career-low of 71.4, good for just fourth-best on his own team. That’s astonishing, considering the only other time one could even argue Von Miller as the fourth-best pass rusher on a team, would be his inclusion on the 2010’s All-Decade team. Even then, that argument would be an uphill climb.