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Broncos No Bull Roster Status Part 3: Secondary

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A No Bull look at the current Denver Broncos roster, its strengths, weaknesses, and what we can expect to target in free agency and the draft.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

With the season over and a huge change in coaching regime for the Denver Broncos, it is a great time to step back, take a look at the roster, and play a little armchair GM before free agency. All of this is my own personal opinion based off what I’ve seen from the players on the field.

Series links:

Part 1: Defensive Line

Part 2: Linebackers

Today we’re looking at the Broncos’ Secondary units to see what holes the Broncos should be looking to fill in the 2019 NFL offseason.

Player Rating Key:

1 - Project / developmental - lacking necessary skills to contribute as it stands today

2 - Backup quality - Can play, but isn’t a guy you want out there every snap

3 - Mediocre starter - Doesn’t bring anything special to the table, but is able to do the job

4 - Good starter - An above-average talent

5 - Blue chip player - Top 10 talent in the NFL at what he does

Unit Rating Key:

1 - Blow it up - the Broncos have nothing NFL quality to work with

2 - Severely lacking at least one starter

3 - Mediocre need

4 - Solid talent and depth

5 - Elite talent level

Cornerbacks:

2018 CB Stats

No. Player Age Pos G GS Snaps / % Int Yds TD Lng PD FF Fmb Sk Comb Solo Ast TFL QBHits
No. Player Age Pos G GS Snaps / % Int Yds TD Lng PD FF Fmb Sk Comb Solo Ast TFL QBHits
25 Chris Harris 29 CB 12 12 747 / 69.4% 3 68 1 53 10 0 0 1 49 40 9 1 1
29 Bradley Roby 26 CB 15 15 926 / 86% 1 0 0 0 12 2 0 0 50 45 5 1 0
22 Tramaine Brock 30 CB 12 5 437 / 40.6% 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 23 19 4 0 0
41 Isaac Yiadom 22 CB 13 1 263 / 24.4% 1 4 0 4 3 0 0 0 20 17 3 0 0
39 Jamar Taylor 28 CB 4 0 9 / 0.8% 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
27 Brendan Langley 24 CB 5 0 0 / 0% 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 3 0 0 0
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/, https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/snapcounts

Chris Harris, Jr. - 5

Chris Harris, Jr. is the best technician at cornerback the NFL has to offer. He understands exactly how to play any type of receiver lined up on him, how to play in any scheme the defense wants, and is able to do his job at high level no matter where you line him up in the secondary.

He’s a stud. The smartest thing the Broncos could do with CHJ is to get him extended and keep him in the orange and blue for his whole career.

UFA Bradley Roby - 3

Bradley Roby and whether or not the Broncos will try to keep him this offseason is one of the more compelling questions facing the Broncos.

He’s an up and down player historically and is not anywhere close to what I would call elite. He does know how to play the game and is good for about 2-3 great games a season. The biggest negative to his game is his lack of focus and effort at times which is good for costing 2-3 scores single-handedly per season.

I honestly think this is a situation where I let him go and hope he does well with a change of scenery as I think paying him money to stay won’t help get his focus and effort where it needs to be.

Isaac Yiadom - 3

Issac Yiadom was a guy who looked pretty rough as rookie to begin the season, but his play got sneaky good as the season wore on. I liked a lot of what I saw from him late in the season and think he’s another young guy who if he will put the work on this offseason it will pay dividends for his career and help bolster the talent level of the team.

Brendan Langley - 1

Brendan Langley has been a developmental prospect since he was drafted and in 2018 the best thing you can say about him is that he did a solid job contributing in special teams. Unless he takes everyone by surprise this offseason, I expect him to have a similar contribution next season as the film doesn’t show me any upside that makes me think he has what it takes to take his game to the next level.

UFA Tramaine Brock - 2

Tramaine Brock was a warm body on the field for the Broncos in 2018. He wasn’t great, but he wasn’t altogether terrible either. One thing I noticed more than I’d like to is his penchant for getting caught flat-footed at times in coverage.

I don’t see the Broncos resigning Brock this offseason.

Horace Richardson - 1

Horace Richardson was an undrafted practice squad player that bounced from the Vikings to the Chiefs to us through the span of the 2018 season. He’s a young developmental guy only that we have yet to see play any meaningful snaps for the Broncos.

Craig Mager - 2

Craig Mager is a guy getting a second chance from the Broncos. He was drafted in the 3rd round by the Chargerrs back in 2016 and was released in 2018 by them after a hamstring injury.

We’ll see what he brings to the table as he fights for his NFL career. He’s a guy that is either going to flash for the coaches or get cut this offseason. He has a legitimate chance to make the team if he can wow them.

UFA Jamar Taylor - 2

Jamar Taylor was brought in to bolster the cornerback room with a veteran player when CHJ went out near the end of the 2018 season. He’s not under contract for 2019 and I doubt the Broncos sign him as I think they’ll be looking for more long-term solutions at corner for 2019.

Overview - 2

In today’s NFL you need three solid starters at cornerback. I feel like optimistically the Broncos have 2 with Isaac Yiadom and Chris Harris, Jr. The Broncos will need to bring in some talent in the draft and may even bring in a free agent as well.

Safety:

2018 Safety Stats

No. Player Age Pos G GS Snaps / % Int Yds TD Lng PD FF FR Sk Comb Solo Ast TFL QBHits
No. Player Age Pos G GS Snaps / % Int Yds TD Lng PD FF FR Sk Comb Solo Ast TFL QBHits
31 Justin Simmons 25 FS 16 16 1077 / 100% 3 8 0 8 4 0 0 0 97 71 26 0 0
26 Darian Stewart 30 SS 14 14 874 / 81.2% 2 3 0 3 3 0 1 1 60 46 14 0 2
34 Will Parks 24 S 16 3 572 / 53.1% 1 11 0 11 4 1 0 0 41 25 16 0 2
21 Su'a Cravens 23 S 5 0 117 / 10.9% 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 18 11 7 0 1
35 Dymonte Thomas 25 S 12 0 42 / 3.9% 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 12 8 4 1 1
38 Shamarko Thomas 27 S 6 0 19 / 1.8% 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 5 2 0 0
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/, https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/snapcounts

Justin Simmons - 3

After a couple of extremely promising seasons, 2018 saw the legend of Justin Simmons in Broncos Country take a step back.

Simmons is a very talented safety who has very good man-to-man coverage skills and good range in the defensive backfield. While we didn’t see a ton of “great” play from him in 2018 one thing you can say is that he was extremely versatile for the Broncos. He played 100% of the defensive snaps in 2018 according to the stats which speaks to his versatility.

I honestly think the team will be better served by reducing his workload and getting his play focused so he can excel as a safety instead of being “good” at everything from slot corner to free safety.

Darian Stewart - 2

One of my favorite Broncos from the 2015 Super Bowl Championship season is Darian Stewart. Historically he’s been a superb safety for the Broncos who is able as a free safety to attack the ball and make plays both in the run game and pass game.

Sadly my eyes tell me he’s lost a step in 2018. With the youth movement front and center in the NFL from a front office perspective, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him released in 2019. If he stays with the Broncos, I honestly think the team is best off using him as a depth safety instead of a starter regardless of his contract.

Sua’ Cravens - 2

Sua’ Cravens had a pretty lackluster season after all the hype that went into the Broncos acquire him from what looked like a very solid trade. He spent a lot of the season injured and when he did make it onto the field didn’t seem to really bring anything spectacular to the table.

That being said, he’s got all the athletic talent you could ask for and is young. If the coaches can get him dialed in on football and his body ready for the rigors of a season without injury, the guy has the goods to be a real impactful player. Right now that’s all potential though.

Will Parks - 3

I thought Will Parks responded in a big way to the Broncos signing of Cravens. Parks didn’t wow in 2017 and showed us last season that he’s all about improving. His play took a step forward last year and he flashed for me several times when he finally got meaningful snaps as the season wore on.

Look for him to fight for a starting spot in 2019.

Trey Marshall - 1

Trey Marshall is a developmental practice squad player that went undrafted in 2018.

ERFA Dymonte Thomas - 2

Dymonte Thomas didn’t see the field much in 2018, but I remember really liking his play in the preseason work he got. That being said, his time on the field was very productive for how little he was there. He’s another young guy that has a shot this year to carve out a role for himself in this defense.

Look for the Broncos to keep him on the roster as a solid backup player.

Jamal Carter - 2

Jamal Carter tore his hamstring early in 2018. We’ll see if he rebounds in 2019. He looked good from what I saw in 2017 out of him as a depth safety.

Shamarko Thomas - 1

Shamarko Thomas is a veteran depth player who Denver obviously has taken a liking to. They released him a couple times in 2018 only to keep bringing him back and even signed him to a futures contract. He should have a solid opportunity to make the team, but didn’t see enough of the field for me to really have a solid opinion on what he brings to the table.

Overview - 3

I see this group as very mediocre. I do think they have viable starters...some of them may even thrive with a new coaching staff and really impress next season. But my eyes tell me we have an aging starter who needs replaced and a bunch of youth that look like a lot of question marks behind him.

Defensive roster status overall:

Defensive Ends 3

Nose Tackles 1

Outside Linebackers 3

Inside Linebackers 2

Cornerbacks 2

Safeties 3