You read that right. Breaking down each NFL roster based on their expected PFF grading, the Denver Broncos are down with the NFL garbage heap. Coming in just above the Indianapolis Colts and just below the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Here’s how Pro Football Focus sees the Broncos heading into 2017. And yes, they are off base by a lot.
25. Denver Broncos
Biggest strength: Outside linebacker Von Miller had 79 total pressures and led all edge rushers with 53 defensive stops last season.
Biggest weakness: Donald Stephenson was one of the worst starting tackles in the league in 2016. He's expected to remain a starter this season, moving from right tackle to the left side. Stephenson surrendered 50 pressures and committed 12 penalties in 744 snaps.
By the numbers: Cornerback Aqib Talib didn't allow a single touchdown and gave up a passer rating of just 49.5 when targeted in 2016, the second-best figure in the league. With a 92.9 grade, his teammate Chris Harris Jr. was the best-graded corner overall.
It looks like there are two positions on offense and one on defense that caused this massive fade on this teams outlook in 2017. On offense, the terrible ranking for Stephenson (who will be replaced by Garett Bolles mind you) and the terrible ranking for Trevor Siemian is a major liability offensively. Ironically, both players could be backups this year, so PFF’s analysis is already flawed.
On defense, they really don’t think Domata Peko is going to do much to help improve the defensive line and the same goes for Jared Crick who they project to start next to Peko. Again, Crick looks like he might end up being a backup rotational player.
Here’s the full chart.
I was kind of annoyed at first, but PFF made a slew of assumptions at the teams weakest positions that I don’t think pan out. I am doubtful Stephenson or Crick see anywhere near the playing time they saw in 2016 and even if Siemian starts in 2017 he isn’t likely to play as bad as he did at key moments last season. As a first time starter, those failures were to be expected. If he starts this year, he’ll have much more of a veteran presence in those pressure moments.
In a way, I’m glad this team is getting disrespected at every turn. Nothing puts a bigger chip on this defense than national shunning.
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