The Denver Broncos have some work to do on the roster this offseason, and one player who may fit what Vic Fangio wants to do defensively is Kwon Alexander.
There are a number of areas on the roster the Denver Broncos need to (and will) look into upgrading over the course of the next couple of months, and one position that has been talked about quite a bit already is linebacker.
For those who don’t know, the linebacker position is really the specialty of new head coach Vic Fangio, and has been for over 30 years. He has coached some of the best linebackers in the league whether he was in New Orleans in the late 80s and early 90s, the 49ers in the early 2010s, or more recently with the Chicago Bears.
Heck, Fangio even got to coach one of the heroes of Super Bowl 50, Danny Trevathan, in Chicago.
The Broncos’ apparent need at the linebacker position is not necessarily for a lack of ‘talent’ at the position, but a lack of one very specific skill. That specific skill is being able to cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield.
Whether it’s been the scheme or the players, the Broncos just simply cannot do it on a consistent basis, and one of the thoughts fans have is that an athletic linebacker with speed, range, and instincts could come along and plug what seems to be a massive leak in the ship that is the Denver Broncos’ defense.
Lucky for the captain of that ship John Elway, this year’s free agent crop is replete with linebacker depth in all shapes, sizes, and blends of talent.
One player I want to take a look at is Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander, who is still just 24 and won’t turn 25 until August but has already been in the league for four seasons.
The big catch here? Alexander is coming off of a torn ACL in October and may be more of a risk than anything else at this point.
For what he’s already done in the league and the type of player he’s proven himself to be when healthy, he may be the perfect fit for the Broncos, though.
At 6-foot-1, 227 pounds, Alexander ran a 4.55 at the 2015 Scouting Combine and showed off his outstanding athleticism and physical strength with the rest of the performance he put on at the NFL’s annual Underwear Olympics.
Alexander was well on his way to another highly productive year in 2018 before the ACL injury. In six games, he racked up 45 tackles, six tackles for loss, and a sack. In his first three seasons in the league, he proved himself to be quite the player in coverage as well, picking off six passes from 2015-17 and batting down 20 in that same timeframe.
Alexander is a playmaker at the position but his injury will cause teams to pause and he may ultimately have to settle for one of the dreaded ‘prove-it’ contracts. Lucky for him, he’s still very young and has plenty of time to prove himself.
One of the huge bonuses to Vic Fangio coming to Denver, at least in my mind, is that defensive players will want to play for him. I think that not only applies to the current players on the roster but veterans around the league and free agents who have the chance to pick their situation.
Fangio may even have the benefit of being selective this offseason in picking players he wants to play for him, and I think Alexander — though not the same type of prospect and player as Roquan Smith — could have a similar effect on the Broncos’ defense alongside Todd Davis, Brandon Marshall, and/or Josey Jewell.
The Broncos could look to keep the current trio of ‘backers they already have, but it seems like the team is set on going a different direction. Perhaps Fangio’s film study will change that.
At any rate, the idea of adding a free agent of Alexander’s caliber should be explored. He’s been very productive in his early years in the league and if his knee checks out, he could be a great free agent bargain.