While the obvious free agency need on defense is located in the secondary, the defensive line could be a target for George Paton. Shelby Harris might be a priority, but his return is not guaranteed. DeMarcus Walker is an unrestricted free agent. DreMont Jones has shown promise, but is not a player who can anchor the D-Line, yet.
Vic Fangio’s defense utilizes a rotation on the line, and the Broncos may have to reload. Jadeveon Clowney could be an impact player. He might also be needed if they can’t resign Shelby Harris.
Weight: 255 pounds
Age: 28 years old
Experience: 7 seasons
Why it makes sense
Clowney has always been considered an athletic freak. His impact in the league has not really matched his potential. However, he could fit very well in Vic Fangio’s defense. Fangio likes to get pressure without having to blitz. In his last two seasons in Houston, Clowney had 9.5 and 9 sacks respectively.
According to PFF, Clowney is the 31st ranked free agent, but his strength comes in run defense, not rushing the QB.
Clowney is a good, not great, pass-rusher. He does his best work in the run game, using those elite tools and heavy hands to win at the point of attack. Since entering the league, Clowney is a 95th percentile run defender and a 77th percentile pass-rusher, so his future team should expect similar snap-to-snap production at this point.
It’s been a struggle for Clowney since he left Houston, but fitting into a defensive rotation that doesn’t ask him to be a pass rusher could be exactly what he needs. With some potential changes to the Broncos defense, Clowney could fill a big need for Vic Fangio
Why it doesn’t make sense
Clowney is coming off an injury that forced him to miss the last half of 2020. He has always had struggles with injuries in his career. It makes it difficult for George Paton to commit too much to a guy that comes with few guarantees.
It would likely be cost prohibitive for the Broncos to reach for Clowney, anyway. The needs of defense center around resigning Shelby Harris, and filling holes in the secondary. Clowney would be a luxury. For all the talk of being aggressive, and being in on all the deals, Paton will likely be patient in free agency. Clowney might be available, but it’s doubtful that Paton will make a big push to bring him in.
I can envision a world where Clowney comes to Denver. He would fit in well with the defensive line rotation. His ability against the run, and his potential to get to the QB make him an enticing prospect. His recent issues with injuries are a bit of a red flag, but if the price is right, I’d be happy to see the Broncos make a play for his services in 2021.
Should the Broncos try and sign Jadeveon Clowney?
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