3 Denver Broncos set to make big impact in season opener vs. Raiders

Who are three "under the radar" Broncos who are set to make a bigger impact than expected in the regular season opener?

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DT DJ Jones

For the Broncos' defense, one of their tougher tasks of the season will actually be their very first of the season in superstar RB Josh Jacobs who will be starting in the season opener after a long contract dispute with the Raiders organization. Denver's run defense had its sputters last season but overall, was a fairly strong unit. However, it was a major struggle to contain one of the league's premiere running backs in Las Vegas.

In Jacobs' last three consecutive matchups against the Broncos, he has rushed for over 100 yards and has only had below 85 rushing yards in just one appearance in his seven career matchups against the team. The run defense for the Broncos will certainly need to begin the season on a high note if they want to have any chance of helping their offense out and that starts with starting nose tackle DJ Jones.

Jones, 28, is in a position to have an impressive 2023 campaign under new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. Denver added two key pieces to their pass rush this offseason in DE Zach Allen and OLB Frank Clark who will certainly make life easier on the Broncos' franchise nose tackle. Not to mention, veteran NT Mike Purcell was activated off the NFI list and is ready to go for the start of the regular season which will lift most of the workload off of Jones' shoulders. However, if Jones wants to prove he is still one of the NFL's best defensive tackles currently in the game, he will have to come out and consistently make stops within the run game against an elite RB in Josh Jacobs. Jones continuously proved his value in the run game in preseason Week 2 against the San Francisco 49ers and hopes to carry that momentum into the season opener against a tough opponent.