George Paton, Nathaniel Hackett and Ejiro Evero stated numerous times this offseason that a team can’t have enough pass rushers.
Over the past few months, the Broncos have truly put that to the test. Not only was their most expensive free agent splash a pass rusher, Randy Gregory, but their first pick in the draft, Nik Bonitto, was a talented pass rusher.
At outside linebacker, the Broncos roll six deep at a position where a team typically only keeps four on the final roster. And don’t forget Dre’Mont Jones, D.J. Jones and Eyioma Uwazurike on the inside, either.
Out of all of these pass rushers, who will lead the team in sacks?
The DNVR Broncos Crew breaks it down.
Who will lead the Broncos in sacks in 2022?
Zac: Nik Bonitto — When it comes to racking up stats, the best ability is availability. Unfortunately, neither Bradley Chubb nor Randy Gregory, Denver’s two starting outside backers, has played a full season since Chubb accomplished that feat in 2018. Gregory has never played an entire season in the NFL.
That will allow ample playing time for George Paton’s first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Bonitto is not nearly a finished product as he needs to work on becoming an all-around player in the NFL.
But he is already a talented pass rusher with great anticipation.
Because of that, regardless of Gregory and Chubb’s availability, Bonitto will have plenty of opportunities at getting after the quarterback on the Broncos’ defense. And with his talent, he’ll end up leading the team in sacks as a rookie.
RK: Bradley Chubb — I have to go with the upside here.
We all know about Chubb’s rookie season—the only of his four seasons where he played in every game—when he burst onto the scene, posting 12 sacks and taking a peek at the all-time rookie record. But even in 2020, when Chubb posted a dissappointing 7.5 sacks, he amassed more sacks than all but one player on the roster has ever tallied in a season. And I bet that player’s name isn’t popping into your head right now.
Randy Gregory’s best season was last year when he got six. Dre’Mont Jones posted 6.5 in 2020. D.J. Jones has never posted more than three. Only Malik Reed, who got eight in 2020 can say he can beat Chubb’s second best season, and Chubb got that 7.5 in 14 games.
According to Bradley himself, this is the most healthy he’s been since his rookie season, and if he stays that way, he is the heavy favorite to lead this category for the Broncos in 2022.
Henry: Bradley Chubb — The first four years of Chubb’s career alternated between injury and stardom.
2018: Chubb puts up 12 sacks and 14 tackles for loss as a rookie. Those marks were good for 14th in the league and 13th, respectively.
2019: Chubb tears his ACL.
2020: Chubb is named a starter in the Pro Bowl, making him one of two players on the current roster to start in the NFL’s all-star game, along with quarterback Russell Wilson. Justin Simmons has the only other Pro Bowl appearance for a defender.
2021: Chubb is named the 40th-best player in the NFL before the season on NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2021, but injuries strike again.
Now, Chubb seems to be back to full health (touch wood) and DraftKings Sportsbook lists him with the 11th-best odds to be the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. I’m taking my chances with the injuries and picking the most talented player in the Broncos’ front seven to lead the team in sacks.