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Broncos players earn some mid-season awards from Pro Football Focus

The football data and analytics site handed out several different awards after 8 weeks of play. Check out which Broncos earned some virtual hardware.

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NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL regular season is now half-way over; which makes this a perfect time to look back over the first half of the season and see who has made a big impact.

Every year Pro Football Focus puts out a few different lists recognizing these players, and it is always fun to see the Denver Broncos represented.

Here they are.

Top 10 Breakout NFL Players

Last season saw Derek Wolfe make this list with his step up in play from the 2014 season. This year, an offensive player got some love.

3. Matt Paradis, C, Denver Broncos

At his best last season, Matt Paradis was an average starter at the center position for the Broncos. He struggled as a pass blocker, coughing up 29 total QB pressures, sixth-most in the league. This year he is on pace to allow just eight, and he currently sits atop the PFF rankings for the center position with an overall grade of 88.2. Paradis has fixed his pass protection problems from his previous starting season and has improved in the run game, building on an area of strength and becoming the best player on the Denver offensive line.

Paradis has been on the rise ever since grabbing the starting Center job last year. It is impressive to see this level of play from him after being drafted in the 6th round in 2014.

The other nice thing about this is that Paradis was waived in 2014 and re-signed to the practice squad, spending the entire year on the practice squad. This means that he essentially got a redshirt year in terms of his contract.

Next year he will be an ERFA which allows Denver to re-sign him extremely cheap, and then in 2018, he will be a RFA which would allow us to tender him at still a reasonable value. This means that we have two more years of affordable, excellent center play. Chalk one up for the Denver scouting department, and congrats to Paradis on his award!

2016 Midseason Superlatives

Here’s what PFF has to say about this unique list:

It’s time to take a look at some of the unique data PFF has and how this season’s crop of players stack up in regard to those numbers.

We’re not going to be focusing on the raw passing, rushing, or receiving totals that you can get anywhere, but rather take a deeper dive into some of the more advanced and interesting numbers from our database.

Here is a list of players that have a shot of breaking PFF-era (since the 2006 season) records in some of our unique stats

Most likely to defend the pass

Lowest passer rating allowed when thrown at: Aqib Talib, CB, Denver Broncos, 37.0

Single-season record: Asante Samuel, CB, Philadelphia Eagles, 31.7 (2010)

Aqib Talib has been pretty shutdown so far this season. He has yet to allow a touchdown catch when targeted, and is yielding a passer rating of 37.0 when QBs throw the ball into his coverage. To put that into perspective, that’s better than the passer rating QBs would have if they just threw the ball into the dirt every play. It isn’t quite the record over a single-season, however. Darrelle Revis’ mind-blowing 2009 season has it beat, but the record since 2006 is held by Asante Samuel from his 2010 season with the Eagles. That year, Samuel allowed just 19 catches and 141 yards, picking off seven passes from just 41 targets.

Most likely to haul it in

Lowest drop rate: Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos, 0.0 percent

Single-season record: Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys, 0.0 percent (2015)

Multiple receivers have yet to drop a pass this season, but Emmanuel Sanders has caught the most among that group by a clear five receptions. Jason Witten holds the record for the most receptions over a season without a dropped pass, with 77 catches in 2015 and no drops to his name. Todd Heap had 73 catches with the Ravens in 2006 without a drop, which is the second-best rate over a season. Sanders is currently on pace to eclipse the reception totals of the TE pairing, and would hit 88 receptions without a drop if he can maintain his perfect performance over the second half of the year. If he drops one, he would need to hit that 88-reception mark to hold the best drop rate among receivers with a single drop over a season, edging out Jeremy Maclin from a year ago, who dropped just one pass and caught 87.

This essentially confirms what we already all knew: Emmanuel Sanders is a baller.

ESPN’s midseason Defensive Player of the Year

This should come as no surprise whatsoever. If there were a midseason DPOY, fans choose Von Miller.

And why shouldn’t they? Already with 8.5 sacks, including a strip sack, Miller dominates the edge even though he’s held every play with almost never getting a call. And if you’re still unsure, just ask Brock Osweiler why he sprinted for the sidelines when No. 58 was breathing too close to him.

That’s some more ballin’.

Score some more points for the Broncos’ front office as these guys are locked up for the next few years.

Who are your midseason winners thus far? Let us know in the comments!