Denver Broncos LB Dekoda Watson having breakout preseason
Denver Broncos linebacker Dekoda Watson is enjoying a phenomenal preseason after a position switch has brought success in the pass rush department…
The Denver Broncos have become a factory for pass rushers lately. Without the presence of DeMarcus Ware, the team has racked up 13 sacks in two of their three preseason games, and linebacker Dekoda Watson is a major reason why.
Watson was credited with 2.5 sacks against the Rams, and he also picked up a sack against the Chicago Bears and against the San Francisco 49ers, including a safety in Chicago and a forced fumble against the Niners.
On the preseason, he’s totaled four sacks, a forced fumble, and a safety and it has all happened thanks to a position switch by the Broncos’ coaching staff.
Signed originally as an inside linebacker, Watson said after the game on Saturday night that he’s always felt held back by his role as a more traditional inside/outside linebacker.
“Just being able to go without thinking,” Watson said, talking about what is ‘clicking’ for him. “There have been a lot of teams where I have to think. I’ve been waiting and wishing for an opportunity, like, Why can’t I be just like Von [Miller]. I remember being in Tampa and thinking, why can’t you let me go? Von goes. He doesn’t have to think. He just goes. When can I have that opportunity? I never got there. Now that I’m here and they’re telling me that I can go, it’s lovely.”
It’s lovely, indeed. You hate to put too much stock into preseason play, and Watson acknowledged that, but we’ve seen some important breakouts happen in the preseason, including with fellow edge rusher Shaquil Barrett who played his way onto the active roster after a dominant preseason in 2014 and 2015.
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The success Watson is having is pretty abnormal, all things considered. He was never considered a rush linebacker by any means at any other stop in his NFL career, including last year with the New England Patriots who value versatility as much as any team in the league. He’s 28 years old, has bounced around the league, and now looks like a lock to make the Broncos’ 53-man roster, somehow, some way.
Von Miller has certainly noticed…
“Dekoda, he’s not young, but he went out there and looked like a sack master, so I’m proud of those guys. I’m in the meeting room with all of those guys and to go out there and see those guys have some success is great.”
With a depth chart that includes Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Shane Ray, and Shaquil Barrett, it seemed like anyone else cracking the roster at the OLB position was completely out of the question.
Dekoda Watson has come in and absolutely played his way onto the roster, and proven to the Broncos he can be valuable not only on special teams but defensively from a number of positions.