Free agency is just around the corner for the NFL and it is a great time to take a nice long look at what the Denver Broncos have in the cupboard. Every ounce of this is my own personal opinion based off what I’ve seen from the players.
We’ll kick things off with our defensive line groups and find out what holes the Broncos should be looking to fill in the 2018 NFL offseason.
We’re going to use the following system to rank the players:
- Project / developmental - Not ready
- Backup quality - Good for a spell
- Mediocre starter - Meh...he can play
- Good starter - Solid player
- Superb player - Playmaking stud
I’ll rate each unit as follows based off of my assessment of the individual pieces the Broncos have on hand:
- Blow it up - the Broncos have no NFL-quality players to work with
- Severely lacking at least one starter
- Mediocre need
- Solid talent and depth
- NFL super group
Adam Gotsis - 4
Gotsis is turning into a helluva player. He’s more of a run stopper and line mauler than a pass rusher, but that is okay. Keep in mind he’s young to the game and it is still very possible to see progress in his game in 2018.
Shelby Harris - 3
I loved what this guy brought to the line in 2017. Harris shows some really good one-gap penetration to his game that can show up in the pass rush arena. He’s absolutely not a liability against the run. He hasn’t shown the ability to play most of the downs so far though, which is why he’s a 3 instead of a 4.
Zach Kerr - 2
Kerr is a big guy that is a two-gap monster in spots. The Broncos used him sparingly in 2017 as he had some injury issues. He’s got a shot this year to show more value for Denver as a rotational player.
DeMarcus Walker - 3
I’m still scratching my head at why Walker was ever playing OLB last year. Hopefully the Broncos get their heads screwed on straight and line this guy back up at DE where in their defense, his inside pass rush moves will be a plus for the unit.
Derek Wolfe - 4
Wolfe is one of my favorite personalities on the team. He’s got the right attitude about the game, his opponents, and isn’t afraid to tell you all about it. The worrisome issue with Wolfe is his injury history and high price tag heading into 2018 which puts him as something of a question mark this early in the offseason.
Overview - 4
I honestly think the defensive end position is set pretty well regardless of whether the team parts ways with Wolfe or not. Walker has the kind of talent that should be able to have a far higher impact on the field in 2018 and Harris showed he’s an impact player with the work he put on the field in 2017. Gotsis is a guy who can slide right into Wolfe’s spot and the team won’t miss a beat.
Domata Peko Sr. - 4
I really want to give Peko a 5, but at the end of the day, that’s likely my love for Samoan badasses speaking than my analyst’s mind. Peko is a great NFL player though and showed it all last year playing with heart, effort, and impact all year. He holds it down on the inside as good as anyone in the NFL.
Kyle Peko - 2
Kyle is a player that flashed a lot of promise in his rookie season, but has yet to develop the consistency and impact needed to be a starter in the league so far.
Overview - 4
The team can’t carry a slew of projects for the nose tackle position. Keep in mind first that around ⅔ of the time in sub packages the NT won’t even be on the field. Also, there’s a lot of versatility from some of the defensive ends that comes into play...both Kerr and Gotsis can hold down NT in a pinch at a very solid level.
Defensive roster status overall
- Defensive Ends - 4
- Nose Tackles - 4