Joe Rowles threw out a great question on the Cover 2 Bronocs Twitter account today, and we felt like it would be a fun topic to bat around in this week’s podcast episode.
Outside of QB, who is the one player from the #Broncos' past you'd place on this year's roster?— Cover2Broncos (@Cover2Broncos) July 13, 2020
So Joe and I set up a little game where each of us picked our top 3 options of past players we would add to today’s roster, with the rule that you could not select a player previously chosen.
With the flip of a coin, I won first choice and made my selection.
This is a great fit for two reasons. The first is obvious - who wouldn’t want a Hall of Fame defender and one of the greatest cornerbacks of all time on their team? Second, though, for this exercise, it fits Denver’s biggest question mark still left on the roster. With a prime Champ Bailey joining the secondary with the front that Denver has assembled, this defense would immediately be pushed into elite territory.
We posed the question to the Mile High Report staff as well and both Joe Mahoney and Scotty Payne selected Bailey as their first choice as well.
Joe was up next and chose to fill another big hole on the roster, left tackle, with one of the Broncos’ best offensive lineman. Zimmerman would allow young Drew Lock not to worry about his blindside, and is a great fit in Munchak’s scheme with the mobility he would bring to the position.
Staff writer, Ian St. Clair agreed with Joe and chose Zimmerman as well.
Gary Zimmerman. The biggest issue for the 2020 Broncos is left tackle. As he did in the mid-1990s when Pat Bowlen made the trade with the Minnesota Vikings, Zimmerman becomes the immediate anchor at one of the most crucial positions and for the offensive line. In the process, he turns a weakness into the biggest strength. That’s not to say the outcome of Zimmerman’s arrival will end with the same result — a Super Bowl win. But it would increase the likelihood that happens. Not to mention Zimmerman would help tremendously in helping Drew Lock live up to the current hype.
The next one was a bit of a luxury pick for me, as Denver already has first round pick Noah Fant to develop, but then I started thinking of all the fun ways Pat Shurmur could deploy the two of them together in 12 personnel packages, and how well he would fit with Drew Lock’s gunslinger mentality and the rest of the skill position players, and I went for it.
10,000+ career receiving yards— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) December 12, 2019
815 career receptions
3x Super Bowl champion
Does @ShannonSharpe's résumé earn him a spot on the #NFL100 All-Time Team?
: NFL 100 All-Time Team | FRIDAY (8pm ET) on NFL Network pic.twitter.com/vVxWVFJ8zk
Tim Lynch was on board with Shannon Sharpe as his first pick right out of the gate when asked to choose his player:
“To the current roster? Shannon Sharpe. I like Noah Fant and he appears to have a lot of potential. However, would I replace him with a Hall of Fame tight end like Sharpe? Abso-freaking-lutely.”
The next selection by Joe may be a bit of a surprise. He chose prime Chris Harris to man the slot position for Fangio. In the context of this year’s needs, I really like the pick. Harris’ at his peak was one of the best corners in the NFL for multiple years in a row, and would stabilize a corner position, that we’ve already talked about needing some help.
He also fully admitted on the podcast that he would probably get hate for the pick, so don’t let him down in the comments!
Champ Bailey joins @ChrisHarrisJr on the list of cornerbacks who have seen 500+ targets and grabbed more interceptions than the number of touchdowns allowed in coverage. #BroncosCountry pic.twitter.com/0Je7QaydmN— PFF DEN Broncos (@PFF_Broncos) May 20, 2019
Steve Atwater - at linebacker
I think this may be my favorite one, and if pressed I could put this one ahead of Champ Bailey just because of how freaking fun this would be to watch. I don’t think Atwater’s style of play would allow him to play safety in today’s NFL, but it perfectly suits the modern linebacker position.
At 6’3” ~220lbs, Atwater would be the perfect size for a modern hybrid linebacker to patrol the middle of the field, and would be a coverage upgrade over Denver’s current linebacking corps. His downhill attacking style of hits would be a perfect fit in Fangio’s defense, and would cause opposing tight ends, running backs, and slot receivers to think twice about coming over the middle for those short passes.
And in case you’re wondering if the Smiling Assassin could hold up on the inside in the running game, allow me to refresh your memory.
Congrats to Steve Atwater on his Hall of Fame election. If there was ever a day to post this, it’s today. Top ten all-time hit for me. NO ONE did this kind of thing to Christian Okoye. Except Steve Atwater. pic.twitter.com/L2TgvQY3r8— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) February 1, 2020
Joe was torn with this pick as there are a lot of great defensive linemen to choose from, but ultimately he landed on Pryce due to his size likely holding up well on the inside in today’s NFL. Jurrell Casey and Trevor Pryce on the interior, rushing the passer would be just unfair.
Lyle Alzado, Barney Chavous and Rulon Jones all were in the conversation here and would be excellent choices along the defensive line, but Pryce ultimately one given his size translating best into this era of football.
Of course there are plenty of honorable mentions we could list, and as I said in the podcast, the evolution of today’s game is the only reason I didn’t select a guy like Al Wilson or Karl Mecklenburg at linebacker.
Of course that didn’t stop Adam Malnati from choosing Randy Gradishar:
“One of the best middle linebackers in the history of the NFL playing on a Vic Fangio defense? He wouldn’t just thrive. He’d dominate.”
It also felt criminal to leave off guys like Rod Smith or Simon Fletcher, but since we were talking about the current roster, it felt like those positions were already crowded.
Inevitably in a hypothetical like this, we’re not able to cover everyone, so sound off in the comments who you would have chosen if you had one pick from the past to place on today’s Broncos.
Who would you choose to be on Denver’s roster this year?
This poll is closed
Chris Harris Jr.
Other - answer in comments