As the regular season nears, the Broncos' defense holds tremendous potential to be one of the league's best units.
NFL.com's Adam Schein may have the team only at No. 8 on his list of the top defenses ahead of the 2021 season, but even he knows the possibilities for the unit could put it closer to the top after the regular season begins.
"Don't sleep on Denver," Schein wrote. "The Broncos significantly upgraded the cornerback position for head coach Vic Fangio. After adding Kyle Fuller (who earned first-team All-Pro honors while playing under Fangio in Chicago) and Ronald Darby in free agency, Denver selected Patrick Surtain II with the No. 9 overall pick. I had Surtain as the best defensive player in this draft class. Add those three to a secondary that already includes top-notch nickel corner Bryce Callahan and the spectacular safety duo of Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson, and Fangio's really cooking with gas. This could be the best defensive backfield in football.
"The scary thing is that I haven't even mentioned Von Miller and Bradley Chubb," Schein wrote. "With better health luck, this could be the best pass-rushing duo in football."
Speaking of Miller, the 32-year-old pass rusher made another NFL.com ranking recently, as Ali Bhanpuri and Tom Blair unveiled their list of the "30 best players over 30" on Tuesday. It should come as no surprise that Miller made the cut.
Miller comes in at No. 15 on the NFL.com rankings. Miller made the list in 2020 as well, debuting at No. 9 before missing the remainder of the season with an ankle injury suffered in Week 1.
The Broncos star defensive leader, who has racked up countless awards and commendations through his 10-season NFL career, has eight Pro Bowl selections, a DROY award, a Super Bowl championship and a Super Bowl MVP award to his name, among others. Miller has produced double-digit sacks in seven seasons and has tallied 21 passes defended and two interceptions through his career.
Miller's previous accomplishments and unstoppable pass rush appear to have kept the veteran linebacker in the top half of the "30 best players over 30" list heading into the 2021 season. Miller, who will be ready to go for Week 1 of the regular season, will look to prove all of his doubters wrong and reclaim his spot atop the league's defensive juggernauts.
"Before he turned 30, Miller was one of the best pass rushers around, putting up 10-plus sacks in each of the seven seasons in which he played in 10 or more games," Blair wrote. "It's not hard to imagine him rediscovering that form."
Below the Fold
EA Sports has released the full ratings for Madden NFL 22, and it's the stacked Broncos defense that leads the pack for Denver, with the top five Broncos ratings doled out to playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.
Miller retains the top spot among his teammates with a 93 overall rating in the 2022 edition, despite missing the duration of last season with an injury. Miller slid a little from 97 overall in the 2021 edition of Madden , likely due to his time missed last season. Miller, who is expected to make his return to the regular season against the Giants in Week 1, will have plenty of opportunities to show Madden Ratings Adjusters that he's still capable of playing at a high-90s level.
Following closely behind defensive leader Miller are four other members of the Denver defense: S Justin Simmons, who comes in at 91 overall, CB Kyle Fuller at 87, and a tie between CB Bryce Callahan and S Kareem Jackson, both at 86 overall. All four of the top five ratings outside of Miller belong to "the team's vaunted secondary," Joe Nguyen of the Denver Post wrote.
Rookies CB Pat Surtain II and RB Javonte Williams sit at the top of the Broncos rookie class, with ratings of 76 and 75, respectively. Surtain, despite his rookie status, is the fourth-ranked Broncos corner in Madden NFL 22. Williams falls just behind RB Melvin Gordon III (85), earning the second-highest rating among Broncos backs.
WR Jerry Judy saw a bump from his rookie rating of 75, earning a 79 overall as he heads into his sophomore season. Last year, Jeudy did not react well when Madden Ratings Adjuster Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson revealed his overall rookie score.
Jeudy's route-running scores all increased from the previous year, which is a testament to his reputation as an exceptional route-runner who is incredibly challenging to cover. The wideout also got a bump to his change of direction rating, which moved up from 90 to 93.
Already near the top of his rookie class in speed (91), acceleration (93) and awareness (93) in the 2021 edition of Madden, Jeudy maintains those top-tier ratings heading into his second season, will all three scores holding steady for Madden NFL 22.