Predicting who will lead the Denver Broncos in sacks in 2022

Denver Broncos, Randy Gregory - Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos, Randy Gregory - Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos should have a much-improved edge rushing unit in 2022, but who of the bunch will lead the team in sacks?  Believe it or not, the Broncos had one of the worst pass-rushing units in the NFL in 2021.

After some offseason additions, they appear to have one of the deepest units in the NFL.  The offseason saw Bradley Chubb get healthy, along with free agency addition Randy Gregory, position switcher Baron Browning, and draftee Nik Bonitto.  The unit appears to be deep, aggressive, and ready to pounce.

Denver Broncos have a plethora of candidates to lead the team in sacks

The team also signed DJ Jones, an elite run stuffer who should also give a pass-rushing boost on the interior, along with Dre’Mont Jones, who is extremely underrated.  Of this entire front seven group, who will lead the Broncos in sacks in 2022?  I think this is a good question to not have a clear answer to because that just shows the number of threats the Broncos now have here.

I would go ahead and eliminate the interior defensive line.  While I do think Dre’Mont Jones can notch a double-digit sack season, I think the Broncos’ edge rushers are going to have a bit of an easier time getting to the quarterback.  With that said, Dre’Mont Jones is an excellent player, and I really cannot stress that enough.

DJ Jones isn’t known for his pass rushing, so he won’t lead the team in sacks, but he might notch one or two during the season.  So, of the remaining players who have a chance at doing it, we have the two projected starters in Randy Gregory and Bradley Chubb, and the two backups in Baron Browning and Nik Bonitto.

I’m not even sure I’d call Browning a backup, because I think we’ll see him play some inside linebacker, but I suppose he is technically a backup at this point in time.  I do think there is a clear favorite to lead the Denver Broncos in sacks.  Randy Gregory has topped out at 6.0 sacks in a season twice in his career.  He’s missed two full seasons and has never played more than 14 games in a campaign.

In his 2021 season, he notched 6.0 sacks.  Gregory is a talented player.  He uses his speed, athleticism, and length to create pressure.  If he can stay on the field, he’ll have a good season, and likely set his own career record for sacks in a season.  Being that he’s never had more than six in a campaign, I think the Denver Broncos’ 2022 sack leader is going to be Bradley Chubb.

Chubb had 12.0 sacks in his rookie season, and 7.5 sacks in 2020.  He’s clearly shown a better ability to get to the quarterback than Gregory has.  Chubb has also had troubles staying on the field himself, but he was a better prospect coming out of college and is the overall more talented rusher.

I don’t think we’ll see Bradley Chubb notch 17.5 sacks in 2022; I think it’ll be a very quiet 10 or 11 sacks.  Given the expected improvement in the Broncos’ offense and elite secondary, I wouldn’t be surprised if the pass rushers fall out of the spotlight a bit.  Chubb won’t be making headlines for a 10-sack season, but it’ll be a nice rebound from a frustrating 2021.

I would also feel comfortable in saying that Randy Gregory could come close to double digits.  Perhaps he and Chubb could combine for 20 sacks on the season.  I think having cautious expectations from this group is needed because both Gregory and Chubb have battled inconsistencies in their careers.