According to SB Nation writer, Danny Kelly, the Denver Broncos have one of the most promising secondaries in the National Football League. He was unable to give a definitive answer on if this unit will be great, good or whatever, but was intrigued enough by the retooling that John Elway has completed this offseason to make note of it in his post on the NFL's best secondaries.
LCB Aqib Talib*, SS TJ Ward*, FS Rahim Moore, RCB Bradley Roby, CB Kayvon Webster, S Quinton Carter, S Duke Ihenacho, CB Chris Harris, CB Tony Carter, S Omar Bolden, S David Bruton, CB Jerome Murphy
The Broncos got 2013 All Pro corner Aqib Talib in free agency, and provided he can stay healthy, he should provide them a lock-down type of option on the outside. They added to their free agent class with a nice pickup in strong safety T.J. Ward, a hard-hitter that does his best work in the box defending the run but is still quite capable in pass coverage. They bolstered this group with their selection of the high-ceiling but inconsistent Bradley Roby out of Ohio State, who figures to come in and start from day one (though that's not a given).
With Rahim Moore at free safety and Chris Harris either in the slot or outside, this is a nice starting unit of five, with elite potential. Futher, there's solid depth there, with safety Duke Ihenacho, safety Omar Bolden, and corner Keyvon Webster in the mix.
I agree with one statement in particular, "This is a nice starting unit of five, with elite potential." Danny Kelly is absolutely right that at the very least the Denver Broncos have a solid starting secondary, but the huge question mark remains is how well they will play together as a unit. Talent can only take you so far, the elite units work together as one like few others.
Where I took issue with his article is where he put the New Orleans Saints. Suddenly they are elite? I would say they have bigger question marks than the Broncos do in that regard. It amazes me how Champ Bailey could be a weak link for the Broncos and cut, then a few months later be a huge reason why the Saints fall under the elite category. I am not Champ hater either, in fact, I wish the Broncos had kept him. Still, I am less impressed with the Saints than I am the Broncos, but whatever.
There is a phrase that I keep writing in my posts now and then and that phrase is "Orange Crush." It's a phrase I will keep mentioning until it's on the lips of Broncos fans everywhere in 2014. The weak link on this team last season was the defense, but that was due more to injuries than talent deficiencies as there are more blue chip players on this defense than there is on the offensive side of the ball, according to some.
This story came on the heels of their grades for the best NFL's defensive lines as well, where the Denver Broncos also made the list under "damn good."
NT Terrance Knighton, DE Derek Wolfe, DT Sylvester Williams, DE Demarcus Ware, OLB Von Miller, DE Malik Jackson, DT Kevin Vickerson, DE Quanterus Smith
The Broncos have one of the most disruptive and immovable nose tackles in the NFL in Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton, and have added to their trenches with the additions of Wolfe and Williams over the last couple of seasons. Wolfe battled injuries all last year, but projects to get back onto the gridiron in 2014, and Williams, Denver's 2013 first-round pick, will add toughness, physicality and a quick first step to that line. In addition to excellent depth in Jackson (6.0 sacks in 2013) and Vickerson, the Broncos are going all-in for next season with the acquisition of the inimitable Demarcus Ware, a potential game-changer.
Oh, and let's not forget about Von Miller, who is listed as an outside linebacker, but frequently and effectively rushes the passer in Denver's defense. Miller is coming back from an ACL tear in 2013, but if healthy, when combined with Wolfe, Ware, Williams, Jackson and Knighton, will give the Broncos very, very interesting options on defense.
The Broncos linebackers unit did not make the cut. Not that I would call that a bad thing as the Broncos are mostly running the Nickel anyway, and I happen to think Danny Trevathan was built for that style of defense.
What do you think? Are we seeing the rebirth of the Orange Crush defense in 2014?