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Do the Broncos have a defensive line problem in 2023?

If you ask PFF, the Denver Broncos have a big problem along their defensive line this season.

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NFL: Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

If you look at the Denver Broncos roster for their biggest weakness, I would likely choose the offensive line. Not due to their starters, but due to the lack of depth behind those starters. However, if you look at just the starting unit, then you might focus in on the defensive line group.

While talented there with their starters, there is concern over durability - especially with Randy Gregory. According to the latest defensive line rankings from Pro Football Focus, the Broncos defensive line is in dire straights heading into the 2023 season.


The expensive signing of interior defender Zach Allen and the late addition of edge defender Frank Clark suggest that the Broncos were not satisfied with what they had on the defensive line, but it is questionable whether these two moves will significantly improve the unit.

Allen earned a 72.7 grade in what was a solid season in 2022, but that represented a career-high mark and the first time he’s surpassed 60.0. And even though Clark made big plays in the playoffs in recent years, his three highest-graded seasons came between 2016 and 2018.

The projected depth along the defensive front looks a little like this (leaving out guys I think could be cut by Week 1):

  • LOLB: Baron Browning, Frank Clark, Nik Bonitto
  • ROLB: Randy Gregory, Jonathon Cooper, Aaron Patrick
  • LDE: Zach Allen, Jonathan Harris
  • RDE: Matt Henningsen, Eyioma Uwazurike
  • NT: D.J. Jones, Mike Purcell

If Gregory and Browning stay healthy, then the edge rusher position looks fairly strong with both Frank Clark and Nik Bonitto coming in for a solid rotation outside. It is that interior defensive line that is a concern. D.J. Jones likely anchors well, but can Matt Henningsen step up into an every down type role? That is a big if.

Allen is also someone to watch. As noted by PFF above, Allen is coming off a ‘career year’ and wasn’t all that impress prior to 2022. That’s not to say he’s going to bust. Defensive linemen tend to take a few years to develop, so we could be seeing him breaking out into his prime years.

In any case, when looking at all of the defensive position groups, it would seem that the defensive line is the biggest concern. Especially along the interior defensive line.

What do you think? Let’s discuss in the comments section below!