Denver Broncos: Will Parks will be the defensive X-factor
The Denver Broncos defense will have a new X-factor. Will Parks is going to play a big role in the defense after releasing veteran Darian Stewart.
Every successful NFL team has to have that “dog” on their team. The Baltimore Ravens had Ray Lewis while the Eagles had Brian Dawkins. The players weren’t just Hall of Famers on the field, but they fired everybody else up with their demeanor and passion for the game. The Broncos might unleash their ‘dog’ in Will Parks this year.
This offseason revealed just how the team feels about their roster.
Case Keenum was shipped off to Washington, Noah Fant was drafted as a mismatch in the passing game in round one, and the team sent Darian Stewart packing in free agency. That move is the one I believe is going to unleash Parks’ potential.
The former sixth-round pick is coming off one of his best years in Denver, collecting 41 total tackles while grabbing an interception, all while playing behind Stewart and Justin Simmons. But he’s more than just an impact player on the stat sheet. Parks was the player the Broncos leaned on to wake up the defense when the energy was low.
Looking back at the Steelers game last year, without Parks’ huge hit on Xavier Grimble, The Broncos probably would not have won that game. The Steelers at the time were threating to score and the safety set the tone for not only the defense but the team and I think his presence on the roster is one of the deciding factors to let Stewart walk in free agency.
Vic Fangio isn’t handing Parks the keys yet, though. He’s in another battle this offseason against another veteran. Former Texans cornerback/safety Kareem Jackson signed a three-year $33 million contract to replace Stewart. But throughout his time in Houston, Jackson played both safety and cornerback, which is going to open up for playing time for Parks.
In his first three years, Parks is better when he comes downhill. He’s one of the best open-field tacklers the Broncos have. The way he plays is similar to Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, with the amount of emotion and amount of big plays that come from effort.
Let’s not forget who’s running the team now. Fangio is inheriting a defense that, on paper, looks like it could be close to the Super Bowl 50 team. The 3-4 will allow everybody to play free and more downhill which the Broncos are best at.
Going into a contract year, Parks is going to want to show not only the Broncos but the rest of the NFL that he deserves some big money.