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PFF ranks Broncos’ secondary best in NFL

The Denver Broncos defense, on paper at least, looks to be an elite caliber unit heading into the 2021 season.

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NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Defense is back in Denver. When the Denver Broncos selected Patrick Surtain in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft after securing both Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby over a month earlier in free agency, you knew General Manager George Paton was serious about bringing the Broncos defense back to championship form quickly.

The secondary has now been widely lauded as one of the NFL’s premier units heading into the season and this is something the people over at Pro Football Focus agrees with ranking the unit the best in the NFL.


No team improved its secondary more than the Broncos this offseason. Last year, third-round rookie Michael Ojemudia, an injured A.J. Bouye and Bryce Callahan — who played out of his natural slot position — were the team’s top three outside cornerbacks. Denver now has the luxury of deciding which of Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby or top-10 pick Patrick Surtain II will start the season on the bench due to Callahan likely moving back inside.

The Broncos also have a case for fielding the league’s best safety tandem. Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson rank second and sixth, respectively, in PFF’s Wins Above Replacement metric since the start of the 2019 season.

There does seem to be a heck of a lot of talent on the back end for Denver to work with this season, which is in stark contrast to the revolving door of need the secondary was most of last season.

Speaking of stark contrasts, PFF also ranked the quarterbacks in the NFL and our own Drew Lock ranked worst in the NFL behind all other projected starters. So while it is nice to see a unit draw a lot of praise, we have to keep in mind that teams success in the regular season usually flows through the arm of their starting quarterback.

I sure hope they figure that part out before Week 1!

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