Good morning, Broncos Country.
The strength of the Denver Broncos over the past four seasons has been there defense. It’s undoubtedly the reason why they were able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl 50. Moreover, despite continuous underwhelming offensive efforts, remained remotely competitive in many games in the ill-fated Vance Joseph era.
In free agency, John Elway double-downed on the ‘defense wins championships’ mentality and acquired two talented defensive backs in Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan to shore up their secondary. Key moves that added much needed versatility and experience to their roster and will hopefully pay big dividends for the team in their upcoming 2019 campaign.
Even so, first-year Head Coach Vic Fangio believes the Broncos defense still has a ways to go before achieving their full potential. He’s adamant they can (and will) improve with respect to the talent on the roster, as well as how the unit performs together on the field.
“It’s in a better spot that when we first took over Chicago, that’s for sure. We have good players on our edge in [Bradley] Chubb and Von Miller, obviously. We have a safety we like in [Justin] Simmons. We still have Chris Harris [Jr.] who’s a good corner/nickel back,” stated Fangio at the NFL League Meetings in Arizona yesterday.
"If the guy's on our roster and he's going to be on our roster, I want to form my own opinion. I don't want to watch other stuff.”— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) March 27, 2019
Coach Fangio to evaluate players based on OTAs, not previous seasons » https://t.co/51kwhc9iZo pic.twitter.com/bjPFNuybka
“We’ve been able to add a couple guys through free agency. We’re in a lot better shape in Denver than we were when we first started in Chicago, but we still have work to do both in improving our roster and improving our play.”
At first glance, one area the Broncos’ could improve upon would be the inside linebacker position. Todd Davis and Josey Jewell are penciled in as this year’s starters, but fans across Broncos Country are hoping to add a blue-chip prospect to their linebacker corps to help take franchise’s defensive prowess to the next level. That’s what the Chicago Bears did when they took Roquan Smith at the top of the 2018 NFL Draft and everyone knows how important linebackers are in Fangio’s defense.
When asked what he thought of Devin White and Devin Bush in comparison to Smith, widely-regarded as the 2019 NFL Draft’s best linebackers, he didn’t mince words.
“I don’t think either one is as good as Roquan at this stage in their career. Roquan is a special player and a special individual. It’s going to take a while to see that in those other two guys,” Fangio remarked.
He also stated he liked what he had seen from the aforementioned Davis and Jewell thus far.
“I like those guys with what little I’ve seen of them. I haven’t seen a lot. I actually saw more of [ILB] Josey [Jewell] as a college player. That’s more fresh in my mind because I watched him last year. I like those guys.”
So fans dreaming of the Broncos utilizing a top ten selection on one of the high-profile Devin’s might want to sizzle those emotions, unless they feel that Fangio is throwing up the proverbial smokescreen with how he views the current talent on the roster. However, fans should certainly expect the team to add a prospect at each level of the defense in the 2019 NFL Draft — a defensive lineman, a linebacker and a defensive back.
It’s clear that the Broncos are hoping to lean on their defense to get them back to the promise land this coming season — and with a little bit more help from this year’s draft — they might just be able to do that.
As always, thank you for reading and here is today’s offering of Horse Tracks.
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