Denver Broncos have a gem on their hands at the linebacker position

Denver Broncos special teamer Jonas Griffith. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos special teamer Jonas Griffith. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos have a true gem on their hands at the linebacker position in 2021 trade acquisition Jonas Griffith, who could start in 2022.

The Denver Broncos made a pretty underwhelming trade at roster cuts before the 2021 NFL season when they sent actual draft capital to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a guy no one had heard of at the time.

That “guy” was none other than linebacker Jonas Griffith, a player who was seemingly being brought in at the time to upgrade the Broncos’ atrocious special teams unit.

A need? Sure, but trading picks to cover up for apparent coaching ineptitude was not my personal favorite move of George Paton’s at the time.

Since the deal was made, Jonas Griffith has done his part to make early skeptics — such as myself — look rather foolish.

Jonas Griffith emerging for Denver Broncos in 2022

Griffith, of course, cut his teeth with the Denver Broncos early on as primarily a special teams player. Built like a defensive end at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, Griffith posted elite metrics in the pre-draft process in every facet.

He ran a 4.62 in the 40-yard dash, posted a 36-inch vertical jump, and had 27 bench press reps at 225 pounds.

As physically freaky as Griffith is, it’s no wonder the Broncos coveted him for his special teams abilities, but it was the way he played when the Broncos suffered about their 18th injury at the linebacker position that has paved the way for potential success in 2022.

Griffith’s rapid ascent at the end of the 2021 season did not go unnoticed by anyone, including starter Josey Jewell, who was recovering from a pectoral injury while Griffith emerged last season.

"The guy is good. He has a lot of talent. The guy can run—smart kid. He’s come a long way, especially from last year. From the beginning of it when he was just playing special teams and then he came into a defensive role playing linebacker, and now communicating with me out there with other guys. It really shows his football I.Q. really increasing.Josey Jewell (via Denver Broncos PR)"

Right now, it feels like every Denver Broncos fan is in the dark regarding the team’s true plans at the inside linebacker position.

Is Baron Browning going to split time there with someone?

Will Griffith be the full-time starter next to Josey Jewell?

Will it be Alex Singleton?

Will Justin Strnad make strides and play a role?

Everything is so up in the air right now but one thing is certain — after Jewell went down injured in 2021, it’s borderline not even an argument that Griffith was the most well-rounded off-ball linebacker the Broncos featured in the second half of the season.

Baron Browning did a great job but was also in and out of action due to injuries.

The Broncos need a player like Griffith to really step up this season and become a staple in the lineup. They let Alexander Johnson walk in free agency and they didn’t use any picks in the 2022 NFL Draft on the position when many fans were clamoring for it.

Griffith can prove himself to be an even bigger steal in 2022 than what we saw in 2021, which was already very good.