A day-by-day Broncos player breakdown is something we've been doing since our days at BroncoTalk nearly a decade ago. This year the tradition continues as we look at the Denver Broncos roster heading into the 2015 season in our 90-in-90 series.
Name: Aqib Talib
Height: 6'1 Weight: 205
Age: 29 Experience: 8
Rock Chalk, Jayhawk.
Few people would have had the foresight to know that the Broncos starting tandem at cornerback would be headed by two former players from the University of Kansas. Fast forward to the present day and that is exactly what the franchise has with Aqib Talib and Chris Harris, Jr., who are unquestionably one of the best duos at defending against the NFL's potent aerial assaults of the modern era. All and all, it doesn't matter where you came from or how you got here. All that matters is that you play well when your number is called and it is easy to state both of them have made the most out of their NFL careers thus far.
After playing a contractual game of cat and mouse with Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie during the 2014 free agency period, the Broncos surprised the entire league when they quickly signed Talib to a six-year, $57 million dollar contract. Although the corner has had numerous issues in the past in regard to run-ins with the law, the Broncos front office was confident Talib would be a key cog in the Broncos pursuit of another Lombardi trophy. In his first season with the team, he earned Pro-Bowl honors for the second time in his career and demonstrated his big play ability on numerous occasions.
Although he will be entering his ninth season, the future is still bright for Talib who shows no signs of slowing down. By all accounts, he has has been one of the most impressive players on display over the course of training camp and has earned praise from the new coaching staff. After being omitted from the NFL's Top 100 player list, expect Talib to play with a big chip on his shoulder and fire in his stomach this coming season.
The good: Extremely athletic, long-framed defensive back with 4.4 speed. Extraordinary ball-hawking skills that separate him from most other corners. Very adept to reading the quarterbacks eyes and making plays and breaks on the ball with significant poise. Continuously matches up against and more often than not, shuts down the opposing teams number once receiver. Excels in man and press man coverage.
Savvy NFL corner who uses his physicality to disrupt and jam receivers off the line of scrimmage. Has the knack for generating the big play, taking numerous interceptions to the house over the course of his career. According to ProFootballFocus, allowed just 0.98 yards per coverage snap, tying him for eleventh best in the NFL in 2014. A willing run defender who uses his size and physicality to make the most in that regard.
The bad: Struggled immensely against T.Y. Hilton in the AFC Divisional Round loss last season and can be beat by quick and shifty receivers. Despite a great 40 time, does not have top caliber recovery speed. Widely regarded as a gambler and a risk taker — sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't. Character concerns have surrounded him since his collegiate days and has been a person of interest in several investigations over his NFL career. History of nagging injuries and has never played a full sixteen game regular season in his pro career.
Quotable: "I don't feel like we were too far from the top last year. I think we graded out at the end of the year, we graded out pretty good. We want to grade out as the top secondary in the league this year as far as interceptions, yards, all that. With this defense, we definitely have a chance to do that.’’ — Talib on what the Broncos secondary can accomplish in 2015
Status: Talib will be at the top of the Broncos cornerback depth chart for the 2015 season, but he may not be the best corner on the team with the ascension of Chris Harris, Jr. That being said, the Broncos are fortunate to have one of the league's best defenders at the position holding down one side of the field on a game-to-game basis in Talib. Throw in Bradley Roby, Kayvon Webster, Tony Carter and 2015 fifth-round pick Lorenzo Doss and there is a reason why coaches, players and fans have high expectations for the Broncos secondary this season.