2. Drew Sanders, linebacker
When the Denver Broncos drafted Drew Sanders, it was a bit of a head scratcher in all honesty. The team could be bracing for 2024 when Josey Jewell is a free agent, but Jewell doesn't figure to cost an arm and a leg to keep around and he is a very quality starter at the off-ball linebacker position. The Broncos just paid Alex Singleton on a three-year deal in free agency to bring him back as well.
So why Sanders?
Well, Sean Payton gave us a hint back when Sanders was initially drafted -- he's what the coaching staff and front office are calling a "pressure player", someone who can cause problems for the opposing quarterback.
"Sanders’ vision might be one in which varied around the league because he’s a transfer from Alabama. He’s played some outside linebacker. He’s played some inside linebacker; he had a ton of pressure production last year. Our vision for him is at inside linebacker and four-core special teams player who can go and stem down to the outside. We saw so many good traits with him and such good production. That, too, was shared. George and I know exactly what the vision is, but it’s important to articulate it in the room so there’s no surprises."- Sean Payton (via Broncos PR)
I think we're going to see Drew Sanders playing on Sunday against the Raiders, and I think we're primarily going to see him attacking Jimmy Garoppolo. He was initially an outside linebacker at Alabama where he was a backup to Will Anderson Jr., and although he made a successful position switch to off-ball linebacker at Arkansas last year, he still got after the QB a ton.
Get ready for a (hopefully) fun role for Drew Sanders in Week 1.