The Denver Broncos defense remains one of the most elite units in the NFL with two players making the Pro Football Focus Top 50 NFL players in 2018. As you might think, the two players are Von Miller and Chris Harris Jr.
29. CHRIS HARRIS JR., CB, DENVER BRONCOS
One of the best cornerbacks in the game has become the gold standard for defending the slot, which has become ever more valuable in today’s NFL. Harris went 16.3 snaps in coverage between receptions surrendered in 2017, the most in the league among slot defenders and has routinely been the hardest slot corner in the game to complete passes on during his time with the Broncos. He has three single-season PFF grades above 90.0 in his career and has never posted a mark below 80.0 in the NFL.
Even with an apparent “down year”, Harris is still every bit of the lockdown cornerback he has been since his rookie year. The former undrafted free agent is playing his way into the Broncos Ring of Fame.
In 2018, he’ll continue his role in the slot. No one in the NFL is better at locking down that position than him. That will leave Bradley Roby and another working the outside.
On the edge, Von Miller should see his chances to make impact plays increase significantly with the addition of Bradley Chubb on the other side. Ranking eighth overall feels a bit low to me, but he had to basically generate most of the pressures the Broncos had all season and teams were keyed on that fact by double and even triple teaming the former Super Bowl MVP.
8. VON MILLER, EDGE, DENVER BRONCOS
Miller’s career PFF grades are just a wall of elite-level numbers. He has graded above 90.0 every season of his career. Only 22 edge rushers have posted a single-season PFF grade above 90.0, and Miller has done it seven times, in consecutive seasons, every year of his career. This past season, he notched 10 sacks, 12 hits and 61 hurries to still lead all edge rushers in total pressures despite the Denver defense around him taking a step backwards and his sack total belying the elite pass-rush he still brought to the table.
In 2018, we should expect a resurgence from Miller with Chubb contending for the Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. It should just be too easy for this front seven to get one-on-one’s to either Von or Chubb in pass rush situations.
What do you think of PFF’s overall Top 50 rankings?