New Broncos defensive tackle D.J. Jones has come to Denver with high expectations for him and the unit he joins.
"We can be the best D-line in the NFL as long as we continue to work hard, stay healthy and lean on each other," Jones said Tuesday. "We can be the best."
The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider writes that while it may be hard to eclipse any unit that the Rams utilize with three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, there is an avenue for Denver to make significant improvements.
"To get into the conversation about the top defensive lines in whatever tier sits below Donald's unit, the Broncos not only need Jones and Jones to approach the pass-rushing markers they've set for themselves, they also need to be far more stout against the run than they were in 2021," Kosmider wrote.
The other Jones that will be integral to that effort is Dre'Mont, the fourth-year defensive end and former third-round pick who has recorded 12 sacks over the past two seasons.
"He's very disruptive," D.J. Jones said. "I love it."
There are big expectations for Dre'Mont Jones outside of Denver, too. Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton recently picked him as the Broncos’ 2022 breakout player.
"Pass-rushing defensive linemen will always be valuable," Wharton wrote. "We know 4-3 edge-rushers and 3-4 outside linebackers are premier talents, but 3-4 ends and 4-3 tackles who get after the quarterback are rare forces. The Denver Broncos have one of the finest pass-rushing linemen in the league in Dre'Mont Jones."
Meanwhile, the other defensive line spot appears to be still up in the air while players like McTelvin Agim compete among a group of other veterans and recent draft picks.
"For a defensive line that has added a new coaching staff and a number of new faces, there is something of a clean slate this offseason," Kosmider wrote. "Opportunities to make the rotation are up for grabs."
Below the Fold
Given all the changes and new additions at tight end, veteran Eric Saubert didn't expect to return to Denver in 2022, as he told The Denver Post’s Kyle Newman. But it would soon become evident the Broncos wanted Saubert to return; shortly after the draft, Denver and Saubert agreed on a new deal.
"Saubert's done a great job after being able to be integrated into (learning the offense) a little bit late," Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett said. "His ability to block, and he runs really well. Watching him get down the field and catching the ball, he's definitely somebody we're excited to have here."