ARLINGTON, TX – APRIL 26: Bradley Chubb of NC State poses after being picked #5 overall by the Denver Broncos during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)Much like the offense with the move to sign Case Keenum, the defense got a makeover simply by adding Bradley Chubb in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Chubb’s presence changes the entire framework of the defense.
One area where significant work needed to be done is covering running backs and tight ends. Whether it was a versatile safety in the box or a linebacker with that capability, the Denver Broncos needed to address this issue.
Josey Jewell came to the fold in the same draft as Chubb. Jewell joins Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis as a linebacker who will play early. The intelligence of the Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker is unmatched. He’s not the most athletic player at the position, but the instincts are near that of a superhero.
Davis is the incumbent starter. He impacts the running game exceptionally well; however, Davis’ weakness is in pass coverage. Marshall needs continuity at linebacker. Either Davis or Jewell could be the guy going forward.
The pass rushers are, simply put, a ferocious group.
Von Miller’s one of the best players in the NFL and the best pass rusher in the league. Giving Miller a teammate like Chubb now allows the Broncos to match up favorably to Los Angeles with one of the best pass rush duos in the division.
Shane Ray’s delayed recovery opens the door for more playing time Shaquil Barrett. Barrett is still a question mark for future plans, but it’s well documented the impact he has as a high energy pass rusher.
2015 was Barrett’s best season and put him on the map.
Jeff Holland is the most likely undrafted free agent to make the roster in 2018. Holland has the same measurables of Barrett and same skill set. Both are relentless and capable of changing games as the second wave of pass rushers.
The next strongest unit on the defense is the line. Headlined by Derek Wolfe, the Denver Broncos held running backs to 3.3 yards per carry last season, best in the league.
But the Broncos did catch a rough patch on the defensive line. However, two players like Bradley Chubb and Von Miller open up chances for the others on the defensive line and pass rushers to wreak havoc.
The secondary received a huge lift with the addition of Su’a Cravens from Washington.
Cravens is an athletic freak capable of playing in the box at linebacker or safety. This type of pickup emphasizes the Broncos’ inability to cover tight ends or running backs.
Cravens is fast enough to do both.
Justin Simmons headlines the safety group as the best of the bunch, but Darian Stewart comes back to write the wrongs of a bad season. Stewart struggled covering, but helped in the run game as always. With better continuity at safety, the team is capable of reviving its roots.
It’s hard to not talk about the loss of Aqib Talib in the cornerback group. Talib’s game breaking plays for interceptions will be missed. The antics were soon embraced and live on.
Bradley Roby assumes the position left by Talib. Roby is a corner willing to take chances, play physical and fight with a top wide receiver. Harris is the consummate professional and a top-five corner in the NFL.
Don’t let anyone tell you different.
Brendan Langley, Tramaine Brock, and Issac Yiadom enter one of the biggest camp battles for the third corner position.
Brock is garnering high praise from the coaches.
Langley is talented, but raw.
Yiadom was coached up by the Denver Broncos in the Senior Bowl. He’s a press-man corner to fight with the big boys. Yiadom is physical and a very intriguing player in the third corner debate.