In the wake of a slow start and injuries to key starters, the Broncos have several players whose performances have flown under the radar a bit. For Doug Farrar at Touchdown Wire, two Broncos in particular have stood out as the league's most underrated players on offense.
First up is wide receiver Tim Patrick, whom Farrar says has been "the team's most pleasant surprise" through the first eight weeks.
"Patrick is tied with CeeDee Lamb, Allen Robinson, and D.J. Moore for the second-most deep receptions in the league this season with seven, and he's parlayed those deep catches into 222 yards and a ton of big plays," Farrar writes. "At 6-foot-4 and 212 pounds, Patrick has an exciting combination of downfield speed and physicality to make the contested catch."
And the second Bronco is Garett Bolles, who has been underrated perhaps more because he's had to battle a reputation of accumulating penalties. So far in 2020, Bolles has the third-best Pro Football Focus grade among tackles.
"He allowed 14 sacks and 111 total pressures with 45 penalties over his first three seasons, but even with a deep passing game that forces him to deal with edge rushers a [tick] longer this season, he's been lights-out, allowing no sacks, four quarterback hits, and two quarterback hurries with five penalties. Bolles isn't the most unbelievably athletic blocker off the edge, but he's worked on his fundamentals, and it shows on tape."
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One of the other surprises this season may be the role of inside linebacker Josey Jewell, who seemed to be headed for a reserve role this offseason. Instead, the team decided to part ways with veteran Todd Davis and Jewell returned to the starting lineup. "Jewell has played all but 34 of the Broncos' 486 defensive snaps and added two sacks and 4 1/2 run 'stuffs,'" Ryan O'Halloran writes in The Denver Post.
Let's keep this theme of "underrated" or "under-the-radar" players going. ESPN's Jeff Legwold breaks down the play of second-year pass-rusher Malik Reed in a new article. "Reed ranks in the NFL's top 13 for sacks, tucked between players such as Aldon Smith and Yannick Ngakoue," Legwold writes.