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Mile High Morning: Are the Broncos the NFL's most-improved team in 2022?

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The Lead

In a recent video for NFL.com, Pro Football Focus ranked the most-improved teams of the 2022 offseason, and the Broncos beat out the Raiders, Jets, Chargers and Dolphins for the top spot.

"Topping the list at number one are the Broncos, and their blockbuster trade for quarterback Russell Wilson is the big reason why," a PFF staffer said. "That move alone is likely going to take Denver's passing offense from one of the least explosive in the NFL to one of the most, thanks to Wilson's deep ball. Since 2015, the Broncos' quarterbacks have combined for just 31 deep passing touchdowns. In that time span with the Seattle Seahawks, Wilson tossed an NFL-leading 84."

PFF's Seth Galina also ranked Wilson highly in a new tier system. In the section of quarterbacks who are "playing at an elite level over the age of 30," Galina places Wilson behind Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers and at the top of a trio that also includes of Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan.

"Wilson owns the top three seasons in PFF grade between the three with his 2019, 2020 and 2018 seasons coming in with elite grades," Galina wrote. "… Before Wilson's injury in 2021, he was flirting with the top spot in PFF grade for the season before coming back and seeing his grade drop post-injury."

It's not just Wilson's arrival that made Denver's offseason a big hit, though.

"Denver did also add some juice to their defensive front in both free agency and in the NFL Draft," PFF continued in the video. "They managed to pry away edge defender Randy Gregory from the Dallas Cowboys after he generated the NFL's sixth-highest pressure rate in 2021. Denver then stole Oklahoma edge defender Nik Bonitto with their 64th-overall pick. Bonitto was the 38th-ranked player on the PFF Big Board after he led the FBS in pass-rush grade, win rate and pressure rate in 2020 and 2021 collectively."

Below the Fold

To continue to delve into PFF's analysis, the outlet also revisited 2021 draft grades for each team to adjust grades after that group's rookie season. The Broncos, who received an A-minus grade initially, improved to an A.

"The Broncos ticked the box wholesale with each of their first three picks. Patrick Surtain II is already a true No. 1 type of corner in the league after allowing only 49 catches on 85 targets for 560 yards as a rookie," PFF's Michael Renner wrote. "Javonte Williams finished with the second-most broken tackles in the league (63) despite splitting time with Melvin Gordon III in the backfield. Finally, Quinn Meinerz put forth a solid 67.4 overall grade despite a massive competition level leap."

The Unclassifieds

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