Zach Kerr played his best game as a Bronco on Sunday

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 30: Nose tackle Domata Peko #94 of the Denver Broncos celebrates with Zach Kerr #92 and free safety Darian Stewart #26 after recovering a fumble during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on October 30, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 30: Nose tackle Domata Peko #94 of the Denver Broncos celebrates with Zach Kerr #92 and free safety Darian Stewart #26 after recovering a fumble during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on October 30, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Free agent pickup Zach Kerr was slow to get fully healthy to start the season, but he played his best game of the year on Sunday for the Broncos…

John Elway has been under fire quite a bit recently for his ability to hit on players in the NFL Draft, but where no one can really criticize Elway’s ability to build a team is the way he utilizes free agency.

Defensive lineman Zach Kerr appears to be the latest in a long line of hits by Elway on the free agent market, and he just played his best game of the season on Sunday in the loss against the Oakland Raiders.

Statistically, Pro Football Focus credited Kerr with five tackles, two quarterback hurries, and four defensive stops (plays constituting offensive failure) and when you turn on the tape, it doesn’t take long to see how much this guy affected the game from the interior defensive line.

On this play right here, Kerr is lined up shaded to the left of the center, playing the nose tackle position. He’s going to get a one-on-one matchup there with Rodney Hudson, which is a matchup Hudson usually will win.

Kerr does a great job of extending his arms, utilizing his upper-body strength, and just engaging Hudson on this play, pushing him back until he has the opportunity to toss him aside like it’s nothing, and make the play on Marshawn Lynch for a gain of just one yard.

This play is a big time play in a couple of ways, but not the least of which is the fact that Kerr also did a great job of bear-hugging Lynch to make the sure tackle.

Here, Kerr is lined up shaded to the left shoulder of the left guard. The Raiders are going to try and pull the right guard over to Kerr’s side of the field to seal him inside, so that Marshawn Lynch can have a clear path almost exactly where Kerr is lined up before the snap.

Kerr just sort of checks the pulling guard like a hockey player, and gets a hand on Lynch while maintaining his gap responsibility. The convoy of Broncos defenders attacking the play help here, but this play was busted up by Kerr.

On this final play, Kerr is again lined up at the right defensive tackle position, shaded over the left shoulder of the left guard. He’s going to utilize his explosiveness at the snap here to just blow by what appears to have been a zone run play, and get to Lynch for a three-yard loss.

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He does end up getting ‘blocked’ from the side on this play, but you wouldn’t really know it based on the way he keeps his path to the ball carrier.

Overall, this game from Kerr was excellent. He played the run and the pass very well, and ended up as the Broncos’ highest graded defensive player in a game with some very solid performances on that side of the ball from individual players.

He played in 40 snaps, the most he’s played all year (previous high was 30).

The Broncos will almost assuredly be giving Kerr more responsibility in the defense with Derek Wolfe and Domata Peko now dealing with some injuries. He excelled in run defense in his previous game with more work than not, but because he’s been struggling with injury, the Broncos have not been able to get him the number of snaps they probably would have envisioned when they originally signed him.

As of this past weekend, this looks like another tremendous free agent find for John Elway and company.