The Denver Broncos pass rush was one of the worst in the NFL last season, and they didn't do a ton to address the situation in 2023. Will this unit be able to keep up in the coming season? Put simply, if a team cannot get to the quarterback consistently, they won't win a lot of games. It's no surprise that the few teams that are left in the NFL in late January and into February have strong pass rushes.
The Denver Broncos got to the QB at one of the worst rates in the NFL last year, and the team didn't do a ton to improve in this department for 2023 as of now. They cut Jake Martin, a solid backup who figured to have a rotational role in the defense. They also added Frank Clark in free agency, but that was after they got news of Baron Browning's knee injury.
To make matters worse, no one really knows when Browning will be ready. Denver signed an interior player in Zach Allen who can hopefully replace Dre'Mont Jones. Allen did have 20 QB hits last year, so perhaps he's got some pass rush ability that can translate into Denver.
Other players who figure to have roles in the pass rush include Jonathon Cooper and Nik Bonitto, who have both apparently looked good so far in training camp. Incumbent Randy Gregory has all the talent in the world, but he has never been able to stay on the field consistently, playing in just six games for the Broncos last year.
I say all of that to say, who the heck steps up this year with the pass rush, if anyone?
Do we bank on savvy veterans like Gregory and Clark, who have played both with their hands in the dirt and as stand-up pass rushers? Do we rely on someone a bit younger like Zach Allen who might be hitting his prime? What about the younger guys like Bonitto, Cooper, and Browning? Can they be effective?
What does seem to be a strong point of the pass rush is that there are several players who could realistically have a strong season. You could argue that every player I mentioned to hit the 5.0 sack mark in 2023. Five sacks seems kind of arbitrary, but it's still a decent mark of production.
What seems to be a weak point of this unit is that there is no one who seems to be separated from the rest as the top guy. The Denver Broncos don't have anyone close to the mold of players like Joey Bosa, Maxx Crosby, Myles Garrett, TJ Watt, etc.
This could end up being a very weak room in 2023, but there is also reason to believe that this unit can break out as well.