Denver Broncos: Predicting OROTY and Comeback Player of the Year
It’s hard to imagine a season of greater importance than this one for the Denver Broncos. Plenty of new and returning players have made this roster one of the most exciting and underrated rosters in the NFL.
With the start of the regular season approaching, it seems like the perfect time to share a few of our predictions for the team’s individual player awards in 2021.
Take a look at our picks, and feel free to share your take on who you think is deserving of these awards.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
This pick is a no-brainer. Javonte Williams is one of the most highly regarded running backs coming out of college this year. The fact that the Broncos traded up in the second round to get him tells you all you need to know about how they feel about him.
As of now, Melvin Gordon remains the team’s leading back, but for how long?
With Gordon deciding to skip out of the Broncos’ OTAs this past offseason, Williams was given the opportunity to run with the starters, and let’s just say it was noticeable this preseason.
Through two games, Williams displayed flashes of improved pass-blocking protection, as well as his renowned contact balance and explosiveness. His performance proved enough for the coaching staff, as he was sat out of the final preseason game.
Williams is expected by many across the league, to leapfrog Gordon as the season progresses. With Gordon playing in the final year of his contract, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him put up big numbers.
Unfortunately, George Paton and the Broncos seem set on the future at this point and it’s hard to see him doing enough to stave off Williams for an entire 17-game season.
Expect to see Williams take the starting role by the end of the year.
Honorable Mention: Quinn Meinerz
Comeback Player of the Year
It’s not an exaggeration to say Von Miller could be in the running for any award he’s eligible for, he’s just that good. While this pick may seem a bit cliché, Miller’s chances could not be any better than in 2021.
Despite coming off an ankle injury that sidelined him for the entire 2020 season, Miller remains among the NFL’s elite in pass-rushing.
Although his last double-digit sack season was back in 2018, it’s important to note that that was also the last time he had a full season alongside premier pass-rusher, Bradley Chubb. In fact, in the 20 games that Miller and Chubb have played together, they’ve racked up 29.5 sacks alone (16.5 for Miller, 13 for Chubb).
If that weren’t enough to bump up your expectations, remember that Denver’s new and improved secondary consists of Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson, Ronald Darby, Kyle Fuller, Bryce Callahan, and first-rounder Patrick Surtain II. This secondary is more than capable of giving Miller and Chubb a few more seconds to rush the quarterback.
Von Miller is 32 years old, but that shouldn’t be an issue. He’s not the average prototypical pass-rusher, so he shouldn’t be treated like one. In the case that he does regress, Denver’s talent is enough to mask it and should allow him the opportunity to keep producing at a high level.
Miller is in the final year of his contract, and quite possibly his last year in Denver. Expect Miller to return to his former form and play himself into contract talks that will make him a “Bronco for life”.
Honorable Mention: Courtland Sutton