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Broncos roster review: Inside linebacker Alex Singleton

Coming off a great ‘22 season, Singleton is primed to be a key player in this aggressive defense.

Denver Broncos v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Alex Singleton is really happy to have started preseason games so the inside linebacker can do some “real tackling.”

And last week against the Cardinals, No. 49 made good use of his few plays, including creating a 4th-and-2 out of a 3rd-and-1 play action.

Noting that a lot of teams aren’t going to do that play with that down and distance, Singleton said he was aiming to take a little risk on that play.

“I only have a certain amount of plays anyway, so might as well take a shot. If they do something where I’m wrong, it’s kind of like, ‘Well, we’ll go over it, but it’s not going to win or lose games.’ So just take a shot then and get us off the field,” he said Monday after the Friday night contest. “We’ve only done three reps at a time so far, so get off faster, we all feel better.”

Player Profile

Height: 6-foot-2| Weight: 240 pounds

Experience: Fifth season | Age: 29 years old

Playing fast and furious has been Vance Joseph’s M.O. and that works well for Singleton.

The fifth-year pro loves game day and actually being able to tackle.

“I don’t think there’s anything better,” Singleton said. “It’s fun. It’s the only time you get to hit people anymore. Got to wait for game day, so it’s exciting.”

Singleton had noted that while they can work on the technique, there’s nothing quite like really hitting a person.

“For us, it’s just getting those live reps against somebody else, to be able to go to the ground and just finish,” Singleton said. “That’s the biggest thing, is just tackling. We can work everything else all day every day, but until you get a couple of those in, you don’t really know how you’re going to feel after [many] months off. [I’m a] little bit older. They add up. You just got to make sure it still feels good, which it does.”

2023 outlook for Broncos ILB Alex Singleton

Singleton, a former Montana State Bobcat, first joined the Broncos in 2022, and Sean Payton decided to keep him on, giving the linebacker a three-year contract in June that is reportedly worth $18 million with $9 million guaranteed.

During the 2022 season, Singleton ranked fifth in the NFL for tackles totaling 163 overall. He appeared in all 17 games, starting 12 at linebacker. He also had three passes defended and one forced fumble.

In June, new head coach Sean Payton noted why the Broncos chose to bring him back.

“His consistency, performance and vision...just knowing the defense and playing well on a good defense a year ago; his communication skills,” Payton said, adding that it’s harder to evaluate that position in the draft because players are getting lighter and ligther, making it more difficult to figure out where to place them in the pro game. “I tend to like bigger players but with [Singleton] you know what you’re getting and that’s a great trait to have in a player.”

Singleton, who like many defensive starters earned his chops on special teams, knows being a contributor there is a big part of staying in the NFL.

“The NFL is humbling as it is,” Singleton said. “There’s 32 teams instead of however many college teams. You’re getting the best players from every single team, and then there’s only 48 dressed [for the game] on Sunday. You’ve got to be able to do it. That’s where you’ve got to take a step back and realize your role and fill it. It makes you better players when you stop worrying about yourself and you worry about the team more and it makes the team better and overall you’ll eventually get to play the better you are on teams.”

With a new contract, confidence from a head coach and a great 2022 season to build off of, Singleton looks to be a key player in Joseph’s aggressive defense and Payton’s new team culture.