2. Lloyd Cushenberry, C
Lloyd Cushenberry's career arc is setting up to be exactly the same as Garett Bolles'. Like Bolles, Cushenberry was largely a liability out there during his first three seasons in the NFL but put it together in year four. And he's put it together in a big way. According to ESPN, Cush ranks 12th among all interior offensive linemen in pass blocking.
Also, there's this:
The Broncos may have an interesting situation on their hands. Cushenberry is a free agent in 2024 and could price himself out of Denver. However, Sean Payton has always invested a ton in the offensive line, so I'm sure he'd like to keep him around. However, Quinn Meinerz would be eligible for a contract extension this offseason.
Meinerz is the better player by far in terms of a total body of work, so would the Broncos extend Meinerz this coming offseason? Well, they don't necessarily have to since he's still under contract through 2024, but good players get new deals after their third season.
Patrick Surtain II is surely going to get a massive extension from Denver unless something wild happens.
1. Justin Simmons, S
I think yet again, Justin Simmons is the best player for the Denver Broncos this year. He's missed two games, which is a bit of a concern, as he missed five games last year, but still, his absence is evident and he's been excellent for the 457th year in a row. He's got two interceptions, one fumble recovery, 30 total tackles, and one tackle for loss.
And on a side note, he's also on pace to make his 100th career regular-season start in Week 10, after the team's bye week. Over the last four seasons, Simmons has made three second-team All-Pro squads and has earned one Pro Bowl nod. I think any talk of his demise is proving to be wrong in 2023.
He turns 30 in November and saw his name come up in trade deadline talks a bit, but Simmons is once again proving to be the anchor of this defense.