MVP: Russell Wilson
There’s a reason the Broncos unloaded five draft picks plus Noah Fant, Shelby Harris, and Drew Lock to the Seahawks in exchange for nine-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson. The team that has been looking for their franchise QB since Peyton Manning left has finally found their guy, extending him five more years until 2028. In order for the Broncos to be in the playoff hunt come January, Wilson needs to play to the standards of what Broncos fans expect from him and to be able to fully maximize Cortland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy’s talent at the wide receiver position. Wilson has increased hope and expectations for years to come in Denver, so if Wilson is able to match or exceed these expectations set for him, he will be declared the unanimous MVP by Broncos fans for this season.
OPOY: Javonte Williams
There are more playmakers on this Broncos offense, outside of the newcomer Wilson, that are primed for a big year in Denver, one of which being second year running back Javonte Williams. Even though Wilson is expected to air it out and for Williams to split carries with Melvin Gordon, I still believe Williams is going to have a breakout year in 2022. Williams displayed a unique skill set last season as a rookie being able to avoid defenders by either juking or putting his head down and running through them. Williams had 1,219 total scrimmage yards last year with incompetent QB play and having Wilson under center will only benefit Williams with more opposing defenses being focused on Wilson as a passing threat. Williams has the opportunity this year to establish himself as a top back in the league and make the Broncos offense as dynamic as possible with his running and catching ability.
DPOY: Pat Surtain II
There’s no doubt in Broncos fan’s minds that Patrick Surtain will be a stud in the NFL. The Alabama product had a shaky start in the beginning of last season and then finished strong by leading all rookies in both interceptions and pass breakups. Surtain had only allowed 60 yards or more in coverage just one last season. In a division with such talented quarterbacks and wide receivers like Keenan Allen and Davante Adams, Surtain will be in the spotlight expected to guard and limit these big time receivers on his own many times throughout the season. It is difficult for cornerbacks to adapt from college to the NFL, but it was shown last season that Surtain is a quick learner. With another year under his belt to adapt to NFL offenses, I think Surtain will shine in his sophomore season and be the Broncos best defender of 2022.
Most Improved: Bradley Chubb
There has been no bigger frustration for Broncos fans than the 2018 fifth overall pick, Bradley Chubb. After Chubb’s outstanding rookie season with 12 sacks and 21 QB hits and unfortunate ACL injury, he has not been producing like Broncos fans want. Last season, Chubb was available for only seven games and was not able to record at least one sack and only delivered four QB hits. What makes this season any different for Chubb? It is because the Broncos have been able to pair Chubb up with another pass rusher from the Dallas Cowboys, Randy Gregory. Gregory in 11 starts last year had six sacks and 17 QB hits, his best season since coming into the league in 2015. The Broncos desperately needed another solid pass rusher to compete with their division rivals the Raiders and Chargers who also have dangerous pass rushing duos. While Gregory may not be a game breaking defensive end, it is another player that offensive lines have to respect that might be able to draw a double team, leaving Chubb with the opportunity to work a one on one matchup on occasion. The Broncos have also bolstered their defensive line with the addition of run stopper D.J. Jones from the San Francisco 49ers. Chubb’s rookie contract expires after this year (unless he takes the fifth-year option), so if he wishes to stay in Denver and earn himself another contract, this year is the year for him to establish himself as an elite pass rusher.
What do you think? Who will end up taking each of these team awards in 2022?