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Mile High Morning: Broncos' roster ranked No. 10 in NFL by ESPN


The Lead

Before training camps get underway, ESPN is previewing the season by ranking NFL teams by roster strength based on the Pro Football Focus database.

Behind the strength of their secondary, the Broncos ranked in the top 10 and could be in position to challenge for a playoff spot.

"Denver might just have the best secondary in the NFL," Ben Linsey wrote. "Last year, third-round rookie Michael Ojemudia, an injured A.J. Bouye and Bryce Callahan -- who typically plays in the slot -- were the team's top three outside cornerbacks. Denver now has the luxury of deciding which of Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby or top-10 pick Pat Surtain II will start the season on the bench due to Callahan likely moving back inside. And at safety, Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson rank second and sixth, respectively, in PFF's wins above replacement metric since the start of the 2019 season."

While Linsey also sees Denver's biggest roster weakness being at quarterback, he thinks the team has "a roster talented enough to contend in the AFC from top to bottom."

Ultimately, Linsey said, the biggest difference-maker for the Broncos in 2021 may be the return of their biggest defensive star.

"The best edge defender of the past decade, Von Miller, returning to the lineup this season is a significant addition," Linsey wrote. "Miller put up elite 90-plus PFF grades each year from when he entered the league in 2011 through the 2018 season. 2019 was the first year to break that trend, as Miller recorded an overall grade of "only" 79.3. A lost season in 2020 due to injury now means that Miller is two years removed from his peak. A healthy return to dominance this year would be massive for a defensive front that also features Bradley Chubb, Shelby Harris and Dre'Mont Jones."

Below the Fold

To get a different perspective on Teddy Bridgewater's prospects with the Broncos amid a quarterback competition, The Denver Post’s Sean Keeler spoke with Bridgewater’s former offensive coordinator at Louisville. "I know this: His focus is on his job, his focus is on his standard and his own work," Shawn Watson told Keeler. "It's just who he is. And that's what makes him unique and special."

The Unclassifieds

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