Broncos preseason: Shaquil Barrett the next great pass rusher?


The Denver Broncos have a future Hall of Fame pass rusher in DeMarcus Ware. If Von Miller keeps at it, he’ll likely be in that discussion as well.

Shackle Barrett hasn’t played any regular season defensive snaps, but he’s got a heck of a preseason resume and through two games this season looks like an absolute monster at the edge rusher spot.

The Broncos drafted Shane Ray, the reigning SEC defensive player of the year, while Barrett seemingly was buried on the depth chart behind Lerentee McCray. McCray hasn’t played or practiced much/at all this offseason, and it could be costing him greatly. Barrett is putting together a whale of a preseason and following up a fine performance in the 2014 preseason, when it was a shock after the Broncos cut him.

Tailor made for the Wade Phillips defense, Barrett’s overall grade of a +10.0 from Pro Football Focus is the highest of any player at the 3-4 OLB position and the highest for any Denver Broncos player in general.

Certainly, the coaches are taking notice when Barrett is making it look this easy…

Barrett makes bending around the edge look easy.

Dare I say, Barrett reminds me a little bit of Elvis Dumervil…He can do it from both edge spots, and he’s not been a slouch against the run either.

While Barrett is racking up the numbers this preseason (2 sacks and a couple called off, five QB hits, four stops), it’s no wonder fans are singing his praises and finally starting to take notice. The Broncos somehow managed to sneak him onto the practice squad last year, but that’s not going to fly this year.

Barrett has evolved physically, and his pass rush is stronger than it’s ever been. If the Broncos don’t feel like they have a spot for this guy on the roster, it’ll be interesting to know their reasoning. He’s got star potential regardless of the fact that he was undrafted, and with Wade Phillips calling the shots, there’s no doubt he can get in the rotation this year.

In fact, in the Broncos’ win against Houston, Barrett was not only playing at the end of the game when they needed a closer, he was getting some reps with the first and second unit.

After two preseason games, it’s clear that Barrett is going to be a big piece of the pass rush rotation in Denver, it’s just a matter of how many snaps he sees over the course of a game. It would be exciting to see him running more with the 1st unit in the Broncos’ third preseason game against San Francisco, and perhaps he’ll receive some reps there this week at practice.

Either way, it’s lining up to be a breakout season for Barrett in Denver.

Next: Corbin Louks making plays for the Broncos