Oct 6, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) runs after a reception against Denver Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan (59) in the first quarter at AT

Broncos' Danny Trevathan Evolving Into a Star Linebacker

Denver Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan has gone from being the ‘next man up’ to just simply, ‘the man.’

Trevathan was the goat after his silly mistake in an otherwise excellent performance against the Baltimore Ravens back in week one, when he flipped the ball out of his hand before he crossed the goal line on a sure fire pick-six.

Luckily, the play didn’t end up costing the Broncos anything except padded stats, and Trevathan was able to learn from his mistake.

His second interception of the season, however, came at an absolutely critical moment. The Dallas Cowboys had not been stopped basically the entire game save for a Dez Bryant fumble, and the Broncos needed a play in the worst way after tying the game 48-48 and leaving Romo and the ‘Boys with enough time to get into FG range.

After a sack by Shaun Phillips pinned the Cowboys deep in their own territory, on 2nd-and-long Trevathan dove in front of Romo’s pass to tight end Gavin Escobar and notched his second pick of the season, setting the Broncos up for the game-winning field goal.

In addition to his prowess in coverage and big plays, Trevathan is an excellent special teams player and run defender, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ top 4-3 outside linebacker vs. opposing running games.

Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio can’t be pleased with the overall performance of his defense against the Cowboys, but he certainly understands that his young players–including Trevathan–are making strides.

“I think he’s starting to play faster,” Del Rio said. “He is fast. I think he’s more certain of his reads and where he belongs.”

Oddly enough, Trevathan fell in the 2012 NFL Draft due to his 40-yard dash speed and coverage abilities.

That all seems like a distant memory now as Trevathan has essentially cemented a starting spot in Denver’s linebacker group, even when Von Miller returns next week against the Indianapolis Colts. Trevathan will likely remain the starting weakside linebacker with Wesley Woodyard in the middle and Miller at his usual strong-side linebacker position.

The best part about Trevathan’s game is the fact that he can stay on the field all four downs. He is not only one of the top LBs in the NFL (on 4-3 defenses, at least) at defending the run, but obviously Trevathan’s coverage skills are pretty solid. The Broncos routinely have Trevathan covering opposing team’s tight ends, and his instincts in coverage seem to be improving weekly.

“I see a more confident guy right there in Danny and hopefully he’ll continue to grow and develop as we go through this year, and play better and better,” said Del Rio.

Part of Trevathan’s success has to be the leadership of team captain Wesley Woodyard, who was a similar underdog story coming out of Kentucky back in 2008.

Woodyard started off as a special teams captain, and worked his way up to the point that last year where he became one of the best linebackers in the NFL.

I’m not saying Trevathan is elite (which I believe Woodyard is) but I think he’s well on his way. This is a guy who was under-drafted but never under-produced in his time at Kentucky, and has been very productive for the Broncos thus far in his short NFL career.

The sky is the limit for Trevathan at this point, but it’s been exciting to see his growth as an NFL player in Denver.

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