The Denver Broncos have found their inside anchors on the defensive line with Shelby Harris and Zach Kerr. The two have proven to be solid contributors for this defense. Kerr, who is entering his sixth season, is an outstanding rotational player on defense. For the big men up front, that depth cannot be understated.
Zach Kerr Profile
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 334 pounds | Age: 28
College: Delaware | Experience: Sixth Season
When the Broncos re-signed Kerr to a two-year deal in March, he said both defensive line coach Bill Kollar and the thought of playing in Vic Fangio’s defense were things that drew him back to Denver.
“Coach Kollar was definitely a factor in me returning,” Kerr said. “It was a no-brainer. Me, Derek and Von all work out together. That played a big part. Shelby as well. I feel Vic is guy to take us over the hump. We brought in two really, really good defensive backs. Once I saw that we were making those type of moves, I was like , ‘You know what, that’s something I want to be a part of.’”
The Broncos can expect Kerr to be a run-stuffing force up front. He has also been known to push the middle a bit in the pass rush. He has gotten better with each season in the league, too. In 2018, he started out playing just 30% of the defensive snaps, but saw that role grow to 45% by seasons end. He finished with 52 tackles, four pass defenses, and a forced fumble and recovery to go along with one and a half sacks.
Last year, the biggest concern around Kerr was his ability to stay healthy having never finished a full season without missing time. He had also never played more than 30% of the snaps in any of his first four seasons. In 2018, he obliterated both narratives by staying healthy all season and having a much larger role on defense.
Shelby Harris was asked about what he told Kerr in free agency. The two have built a solid chemistry on the defensive line and Harris pulled out all the stops to get Kerr to pick Denver.
“Stay here. That’s my dog. I said, ‘Don’t leave me, man. What are you going to do?’ At the end of the day I really felt like we had something really special going on here. I was like, Zach you really should be a part of this. With Zach’s skill set that adds a whole other dynamic to our D-line because Zach’s the same type of player I feel like as me. He can play nose. He can play end and can rush the passer and stop the run. The more good players you have on your D-line, the better your defense will be because everything is one in the trenches pretty much. If we have dogs on the D-line and good players on the D-line, we can win up front every game.”
Zach Kerr highlights
Instead of a highlight, I found this tweet from NBC of a photo taken after a Zach Kerr sack that was turned into an actual painting.
We took this picture of Zach Kerr celebrating a sack and turned it into a painting.— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) October 19, 2018
You're welcome. pic.twitter.com/FwfgV5szOl
Zach Kerr’s roster status with the Broncos
I think its obvious that Kerr is a lock to make the final 53-man squad. He and Shelby Harris should provide the defense with the kind of versatility that Fangio will love, so I don’t see any way (outside of injury) that these two are not major factor’s in 2019.
With the amount of investment John Elway has made in the defense this year, I think it is a safe to assume that many of the key veterans that remain on the roster today will be major contributors under Vic Fangio.