Skip to main content

Denver Broncos | News


Presented by

Broncos Camp Preview: Alex Singleton to take on bigger role among ILBs as Jonathon Cooper, Nik Bonitto and Baron Browning lead OLBs

It's that time of year.

Broncos Training Camp powered by Ford is just a few weeks away, and is starting its annual look at the roster before the final leadup to the regular season begins.

Over the next several weeks, we'll turn our focus to each area of Denver's roster to get fans set for a pivotal training camp that will feature plenty of competition.

We continue with the Broncos' linebacking group.


The Broncos' outside and inside linebacking corps find themselves in different spots entering 2024.

At outside linebacker, the Broncos return their top three players from a sack standpoint, as Jonathon Cooper, Nik Bonitto and Baron Browning combined for 21 total sacks in 2023. Denver also made a significant addition to the position in the draft, with the Broncos selecting Utah edge rusher Jonah Elliss in the third round.

"I think we have a very talented room, probably one of the more talented rooms I've been in since I've been here," Browning said in June. "I think the task for us is just to continue to work hard and push one another. We have a lot of guys in our room that can be starters in this league, so there's not a lot of room for error in our room. We have to be on point every day and push one another to be our best. I'm embracing it, and I think all of the guys in the room are embracing it. I feel like we have a lot of veterans in our room between me, 'Coop' and even Nik, so we're just trying to push one another and keep the standard upheld that's been upheld in our room before we even got here."

In the middle of the defense, though, the Broncos will feature a new starter after Josey Jewell departed in free agency.

Veteran addition Cody Barton and Jonas Griffith figure to be among the players competing for the spot to play alongside Alex Singleton. Fifth-year player Justin Strnad also returns to Denver, and Broncos Head Coach Sean Payton mentioned undrafted rookie Levelle Bailey during the offseason when asked about the inside linebacker competition.

"We're rotating their reps, much the same way [as we are at] quarterback," Payton said on June 11. "We'll continue to do that."


Which Broncos pass rusher will put himself in position to reach the 10-sack mark?

Denver hasn't had a player reach double-digit sacks since 2018 — when Von Miller and Bradley Chubb both hit the mark — but the team nearly had a pair of players get to the milestone in 2023. Cooper posted three consecutive games with a sack late in the year to lead the team with 8.5 sacks, and Bonitto got off to a fast start with 5.5 sacks in his first five games.

Both Cooper and Bonitto will be among the players looking to set career highs in 2024 and reach the elusive 10-sack mark. Bonitto, in particular, showed his potential as he jumped from 1.5 sacks as rookie to his eight quarterback takedowns in Year 2 of his career.

Browning will look to remain healthy and put himself in the mix, as well. Elliss, meanwhile, posted 12 sacks in his final collegiate season for Utah and ranked second in sacks among Power Five players last year.

Though the Broncos' pass rushers won't be able to deliver hits in training camp, it's still apparent when a player puts himself in position to get a sack. And with a room full of players ready to post breakout seasons, practice and the preseason should be a race to the quarterback.


ILB Alex Singleton

The Broncos' tackling machine has seen his tackling totals go up in each season in his NFL career, and he posted an impressive 106 solo tackles and 177 total takedowns last season. Both of those totals ranked third in the NFL, and Singleton also added a pair of fumble recoveries and sacks in 2023.

As he enters his third season in Denver, he'll be called on to do even more. With Jewell now in Carolina, Payton said Singleton will take over command of the in-helmet radio and relay the play calls from Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph to the defense.

"He'll wear the green dot [signifying the radio] more than likely, and he'll have a leadership role," Payton said. "He has a way about him. He too likes the process. He's experienced. He's arrived here the hard way. To his credit, a guy like him has earned everything he's got. Definitely, you feel his leadership."

With Singleton and the rest of the Broncos in the second year of Joseph's defense, the fiery inside linebacker has noticed a different pace to the defense that he hopes leads to a quick start to the season.

"I think we're flying around at a pace better than we did at any point last year because guys are comfortable," Singleton said in mid-June. "Eighty percent of our guys have been in this system now [for] two years. Those other 20 percent just play at that level. It's been faster, and I think it's just going to continue to get faster and a lot more comfortable. It's been really nice."

Related Content