It's that time of the year again. Mile High Report begins our annual 90 players in 90 days roster breakdown. Last year went fairly well, but now through August, we'll break down every player on the Denver Broncos roster.
Name: Shaquil Barrett
Height: 6'2" Weight: 250
Age: 23 Experience: 3
College: Colorado State
Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett exploded onto the scene in 2015, playing in all 16 games and starting six of those for an injured DeMarcus Ware. He notched 5.5 sacks during the regular season and provided the Denver Broncos with the kind of depth on the outside that no team has likely ever enjoyed.
Barrett enters his third season as a clear starter who is waiting in the wings behind Von Miller and Ware.
At 23 years old, he hasn’t even reached his prime. The Broncos will need to make a decision at some point to keep either Shane Ray or Barrett long-term. For now, the two will continue to have limited playing time as they spell Ware and Miller during games.
What that does is keep everyone fresh, allowing the Broncos defense to wreck havoc for an entire 60 minutes of football. As it stands, Barrett is considered one of the most underrated players on the team and figures to continue flying under the radar for another season.
He’d be a starter on almost every other team in the NFL. Hopefully, he doesn’t take off to greener pastures like David Bruton Jr. when the time comes for him to decide either to stay in Denver or move on.
Being part of the best front seven in the NFL, Barrett will continue to learn from the best in the business. This will only help him should he decide to re-sign with the Broncos in the coming years.
When asked who the most underrated player on the Broncos was, Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders said, “For underrated, I’ll go with Shaquil Barrett. Of course he hasn’t proven he can play at a high level for more than a single season, but compare his 5.5 sacks, 6 QB hits, and 16 hurries to Shane Ray’s 4 sacks, 3 QB hits, and 5.5 hurries. I don’t think many people outside Denver even know who Barrett is.”
Shaquil Barrett is a lock to make the roster. The only question really is how much playing time he will receive in 2016. It appears as though the Broncos want Shane Ray to have increased playing time by taking Ware’s spot as Ware comes in mostly for passing plays or third down situations.
That means Barrett will be stuck behind Von Miller, who has entered his prime and will likely be on the field for a majority of snaps.
Still, I think Barrett is the Broncos secret weapon out there. Even with the limited playing time, I predict he’ll likely beat out Shane Ray for sacks in 2016.