2) Nik Bonitto, EDGE
Who had Nik Bonitto leading the Broncos in sacks through four games on their 2023 Broncos bingo card? Bonitto and Jonathon Cooper have impressed on the outside for the Broncos, and both have helped the Broncos defense generate pass rush in Chicago that they were otherwise missing.
Bonitto, once again paired with former coach Jamar Cain from their time at Oklahoma, is thriving in his new role as the Broncos' lead pass rusher. Through four games, Bonitto has accumulated 3.5 sacks, 10 tackles, and one forced fumble on Justin Fields that resulted in a massive defensive touchdown for the Broncos.
Bonitto, a second-round pick in 2022, struggled in his rookie year and became widely unused and ineffective. Bonitto sat behind Bradley Chubb at the beginning of the year but figured to get more playing time once Chubb was dealt to the Dolphins for a first-round pick. However, that was not the case. Bonitto only registered 1.5 sacks his rookie year, appearing in parts of 15 games. He appeared in 357 snaps, or roughly 35% of the team's defensive snaps in 2022.
That percentage has jumped to 56%, and figures to only grow with the departure of Gregory. Bonitto is set to be a Bronco through the 2025 season, but at the rate he is improving, that could definitely extend if general manager George Paton and head coach Sean Payton feel inclined.