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Mason's Mailbag: Justin Simmons' range has him on the rise

You can tweet questions to me with the hashtag #AskMase or use the submission form to your right (if you're viewing on a standard browser) or at the bottom of the page if you're on the mobile site.*

Because of the depth the Broncos have, Bradley Roby is the CB No. 3, but I've heard a lot that he could be a starter on any other team. We all know that. Now the question is this: Does it also apply to Justin Simmons? I've read a lot of reports this offseason, and it seems he is developing as an elite ballhawk, plus his 6-2 height and athleticism are other assets that stand out for him.

-- Luis Torres

Simmons is a different type of safety than the Broncos have had in quite some time: a true center fielder who can cover a lot of ground. David Bruton Jr. had some similar characteristics, but his strength was in straight-line speed and reading screen passes and short tosses into the flat as they developed. Simmons is better working 10 or more yards beyond he line of scrimmage and reading the quarterback's intent when he decides to either go deep down the middle or seams or to throw outside the numbers 10 to 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

Could Simmons start for any other team? I wouldn't say that. He wouldn't be starting in Seattle, for instance, with Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. But I think Simmons is already among the top 40 safeties in the NFL. Given that you have 64 starters league-wide and approximately 150-165 safeties on regular-season rosters, that's not a bad place to be, and he should only rise from that point.

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How are the inside linebackers looking? Who's got the leg up between Corey Nelson and Todd Davis? Does B-Marsh look like he's regaining his 2015 form?**

-- Paul Vinskofski

So far, so good. Davis was the first-teamer next to Marshall throughout OTAs and minicamp, and he was there for two key reasons: His ability to read run plays and attack through gaps as they develop and his communication with Marshall, honed through their season together in the starting lineup. Remember, the Broncos gave Davis a restricted-free-agent tender for a reason: They valued him. As far back as March, Head Coach Vance Joseph said that Davis was the type of player he liked at inside linebacker.

It has been interesting to sift through the questions in recent weeks and see plenty of queries about inside linebacker, and the potential of adding players at the position. Suffice it to say that some in the public see the position as far more of a need than the Broncos do.

As for Marshall, few players generated more excitement within the walls of Broncos headquarters during OTAs. If he can stay healthy, this looks like the season when he could break out not only as a linebacker, but as a team leader.

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I know you have no sides, and that is great, actually amazing if you consider modern media tendencies. Yet I just can't see what are the arguments for Paxton Lynch being compared to Trevor, besides being a Round 1 pick. I think Trevor had an amazing season, considering injury and a wobbly offensive line, while I saw much more bad things than good from Lynch. Do you think Trevor should have the upper hand, considering he has the most experience under the belt, and based on what he showed last season?**

-- Horacio Celaya

The attributes you described with Siemian -- particularly the value of his experience -- will likely be the foundation of why he would earn the starting job if he ends up playing better than Lynch during training camp. If his advantage in starts and regular-season repetitions is an asset on which he can build, it will give him the upper hand, as you mention.

But if Lynch were to seize the job despite Siemian's experience edge, it would seem to say a lot about Lynch's growth in the last few months, don't you think?

When Lynch was drafted, they said he was a 3-4 year project. Why all of a sudden this rush to get him into the starting lineup, if there is a possibility to set him up for failure? Many a first-round QB has failed by being rushed in their development and destroying their confidence.

-- Jeff Noakes

Who is this nebulous "they"? Why does what "they" say matter?

All that really matters regarding Lynch is his own development, maturation and progress in learning the offensive scheme well enough to effectively execute it when the plays count.

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What differences do you see between how Vance Joseph and Gary Kubiak run practices?**

-- Chad Emery

Not many. Remember, Joseph worked under Kubiak for three seasons in Houston, so he's drawn on plenty of Kubiak concepts in crafting his philosophy and practice style. The fact that most of the defensive coaches returned from last year also lends itself to year-to-year consistency in how practices are run on that side of the football.

The biggest difference between last year's OTA/minicamp work and this year's was an emphasis on a few more team (11-on-11) periods and slightly fewer seven-on-seven periods over the course of the four-week period. The tempo was also a bit faster. But overall, the structure of practice is similar.

Submit a question for the next Mailbag!

The analysis, opinion and speculation in this story represents that of the author, gathered through research and reporting, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Denver Broncos organization.

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