Denver Broncos: 2018 roster position-by-position overview
Denver’s linebackers were dominant in 2017, particularly Von Miller.
As a group, they produced twenty sacks. Half of those were by one player: Miller.
The team lost Corey Nelson to the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency this year, but looked to the 2018 draft to fill the void. They selected Bradley Chubb with the fifth overall pick, and then chose Josey Jewell in the fourth round.
Both rookies will provide a lot of help on defense.
The Broncos were surprised when Chubb fell onto their lap at the fifth pick. They were ecstatic. In four seasons at NC State, Chubb recorded 25 sacks. He recorded zero sacks in his freshman year (two games played). His second season saw him record five sacks, while he sacked the quarterback ten times each of his final two seasons in college.
He pulled off a 40-yard dash time of 4.65, which is speedy for a 6’4”, 269-pound linebacker.
Miller is the fastest linebacker off the line of scrimmage I have ever seen. He gets to the quarterback faster than anyone. Pairing Chubb with the best linebacker in the game was a very smart move on the Broncos’ part.
Josey Jewell, the Broncos other linebacker selection in the 2018 draft, is 35 pounds lighter than Chubb and ran the 40-yard dash at a poor speed: 4.82. However, Jewell is a very hard hitter and that is what I expect the Broncos to rely on with him when he is put onto the field as a rookie.
Shane Ray, a former first-round pick by the Broncos, will miss three months while he recovers from another wrist surgery. He has been dealing with wrist problems since the 2017 season and it just hasn’t healed the way he expected.
Keeping Von Miller and Todd Davis on the field at the same time is another important thing the Broncos will do, if both of them stay healthy. It is always better to keep a high number of the same guys on the field at the same time to avoid confusion in what each player is supposed to do.
All in all, the Broncos’ linebackers will be a big plus urging the 2018 season. They should again be one of the best in the league, barring another key injury.