Broncos In Focus at the Midway Point: Only the Best

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

We go In Focus to look at Denver's top performers through eight games of the 2013 season.

What if I told you that Denver's best defender through eight weeks of the season only played in two games?

That's exactly the case according to ProFootballFocus.com, which grades Broncos linebacker Von Miller as Denver's top defender through eight weeks of the season (10.7 rating). Miller's small sample size should be counted against him a bit, but his saving grace is the fact that he has already played in 132 snaps this season, nearly catching up to other impact players like Mike Adams and Nate Irving, and only significantly trailing Rahim Moore and Chris Harris Jr. in snap counts.

Denver's other top defenders so far this season include Malik Jackson (8.4), Chris Harris Jr. (6.6), and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (6.3).

On offense, it's no surprise that Peyton Manning reigns as Denver's top performer with a 22.3 grade. It's also no surprise that right guard Louis Vasquez owns the second highest grade - he has only surrendered five QB hurries in eight games at both right guard and right tackle.

However, I do find the third-ranked player surprising: C Manny Ramirez. The converted guard has an 11.9 grade. I feel like I see Ramirez struggle more often than I see him shine, but perhaps this is an example of his bad plays standing out, and his good plays getting lost in the shuffle. After all, sometimes the best play by an offensive lineman is the one you do not notice at all.

I know now that I will be paying closer attention to Ramirez's game, and seeing if he can stay ahead of WR Wes Welker in PFF grades, who is nipping at his heels.

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