It doesn’t take an astute football observer to see the Denver Broncos’ pass-rush was lacking in their Super Bowl XLVIII loss.
It also can’t be missed that Denver’s defense was without their best pass-rusher in Von Miller, who was injured during the season and missed the stretch run as well as the playoff push.
Shaun Phillips did well this year to fill in for Elvis Dumervil, who was lost in free agency. Phillips’ 10 sacks were the most for him in three years, while he also defended five passes and intercepted one as well.
But Phillips is a free agent now; if the Broncos don’t re-sign him, they’ll have to get a new edge-rusher to compliment Miller. And if they do re-sign Phillips, it would still be smart to add depth.
Free agency is right around the corner, and our top 10 list of free agent defensive linemen came out today, a few standouts could work in Denver.
If the Broncos lose Phillips to free agency — he’s on our list — they should look at replacing him with Jared Allen. Yes, he’s older — Allen will be 32 next season — but he can still put pressure on opposing quarterbacks with the best of them. It’s why he was able to rack up 11.5 sacks last season, his seventh straight with double-digit numbers, while he also batted down six passes and forced two fumbles.
Strikingly similarly, Justin Tuck could be a fit in the Mile High City. Tuck, who will also be 32 next year, enjoyed his best season since 2008 with 11 sacks, three passes defended, two forced fumbles and an interception. He’s an all-around good defender at end, able to get after QBs and also experienced enough to know what to do if he can’t get the sack. Plus, Denver proved to be a suitable home for the older Phillips to reinvigorate his career; Tuck or Allen could enjoy playing in orange and blue.
Finally, Michael Bennett is a beast, Broncos fans saw it first-hand in the Super Bowl. He can rush from either side and with both a bull-rush and a speed-rush around offensive tackles. Bennett was a big reason why Peyton Manning wasn’t comfortable in the pocket and Chris Clark had his toughest game of the postseason that day due to the D-end. Of course, he may be out of the Broncos’ price range, as John Elway enjoys signing veterans to short and relatively cheap deals in exchange for a chance at a Super Bowl.
Like this? Click here to read about which offensive linemen could help in Denver.