Though the Broncos only had two players selected for the 2021 Pro Bowl, several players have still had standout seasons that have flown under the radar — and not just Garett Bolles.
In its weekly prompt that goes along with the power rankings, ESPN asked their NFL beat reporters to identify one player from each team as its most underrated star. Jeff Legwold picked Shelby Harris for the honor.
"In a season in which the Broncos have four defensive starters on injured reserve, including Pro Bowl players such as Von Miller and Jurrell Casey, and a fifth defensive starter who has been suspended for the remainder of the season in A.J. Bouye, Harris has had to be a little of everything for the Broncos," Legwold wrote. "He is tied for fourth among the league's defensive linemen in batted passes, with five, he is fourth on the team in sacks, with 2.5, and he is third in quarterback hits. That's all despite his missing three games because of COVID-19. Harris signed a one-year deal last offseason to return to the team and will be an unrestricted free agent in March."
If we could pick one for the offensive side, too, I'd go with Tim Patrick.
The third-year receiver has been Mr. Reliable for the Broncos this year as one of the longest-tenured veterans at the position after Courtland Sutton was placed on injured reserve. Patrick has caught at least three passes in every game except for two, and one of those was the Week 12 game vs. New Orleans when the Broncos didn't have a true quarterback available.
With two games left in the season, Patrick has 46 receptions for 657 yards and six touchdowns. Each of those marks at least doubles previous career bests.
"Tim's a quality NFL receiver who would play a lot of plays for a lot of teams," Head Coach Vic Fangio said on Dec. 17. "I've always liked Tim. He's a big receiver, he's got good instincts, he can catch the 50-50 balls, he's a good runner after the catch. I see Tim as a quality NFL receiver. He'll never be on the bubble."
Below the Fold
When Justin Simmons got the good news of his Pro Bowl selection, he first told his family. Their reaction, he told CBS 4 Denver, was emotional. "Honestly when I called my parents it was just them screaming and talking for like five minutes," Simmons said. "It was cool. It was a really cool moment."