Each NFL season, every team has a player that bears a little added attention. So which performer could turn the corner for the Denver Broncos in ’17?
Welcome to yet another 32-team series from End Zone Score. In recent months, we took the time to look at each club’s best offseason addition. We even dabbled into some pertinent and historical numbers.
Every NFL season features players that come into their own after a slow start to their careers. It’s tough to tell when each performer’s coming-put party will take place. Some are immediate successes. Others take longer due to numerous circumstances, but they prove to be worth the wait. Here we will try and pinpoint a player from each team in the league that we feel is on the verge of putting it altogether.
DE Jared Crick
Yes, the Denver Broncos’ offensive attack didn’t inspire a lot of confidence in 2016. But to be accurate, keep in mind that the duo of Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch were far more effective and error-prone that the combination of Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler one year earlier.
Unfortunately, it was the inability to run and the failure to stop the opposition from doing the same that eventually cost the then-defending Super Bowl champions a sixth consecutive postseason appearance. In terms of Denver’s defense, it was a unit that allowed 130.3 yards per game rushing – the fifth-highest total in the NFL in 2016. It’s just one reason the Broncos signed defensive linemen Domata Peko (Cincinnati Bengals) and Zach Kerr (Indianapolis Colts) in free agency. They also used a second-round pick on Florida State defensive end DeMarcus Walker.
They are also counting on a better year from defensive end Jared Crick. After four seasons with the Houston Texans, he latched on with the Broncos via free agency. A 15-game starter this past season, he totaled 53 tackles, three sacks, knocked down six passes and forced a pair of fumbles. He and line mates such as Derek Wolfe put on some weight this offseason to counteract the offensive lines around the league, especially in the AFC West.
“We wanted to get bigger up front,” said Crick to ESPN’s Jeff Legwold earlier this month. “We were undersized last year and we knew it…Being bigger and stronger this year will help out with that.”
Look for a much stouter defensive front from the Denver Broncos this season. And if the new head coach Vance Joseph and coordinator Joe Woods can make this an overall dominant unit once again, the team’s current playoff drought will end at one year. And don’t be surprised if Derek Wolfe really comes into his own in this system.