The Pro Football Network staff recently took part in a survey to help put together a Top 100 NFL Players of 2020. The Denver Broncos had four players that were listed as top players on the list for 2020. We’ll reveal where these players were nominated, which players were ahead or behind them, and which players made a case to be on the list that didn’t make it.
78th overall – Bradley Chubb, OLB
The PFN staff elected Broncos outside linebacker Bradley Chubb as the 78th best player in the Top 100 players of 2020. While Broncos fans will like the recognition, Chubb’s season ended abruptly in 2019 after tearing his ACL in Week 4 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The high-level Chubb was playing at before his injury supports his placement as one of the Denver Broncos top players for 2020 if he can remain healthy.
The Broncos hope to benefit from Chubb’s healthy return for the 2020 season opposite of Von Miller. In 2018, the duo of Chubb and Miller combined for 26.5 sacks, and with the addition of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, the Broncos edge rush could return back to a dynamic form once again.
Featured | PFN’s Top 100 NFL Players of 2020
Behind Chubb at 79th overall was Minnesota Vikings LB Eric Kendricks. Considering Kendrick’s recognition as both a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro, Chubb’s placement at 78 is a measure of respect for the type of player he can grow into. The Broncos hope that Chubb can turn into an All-Pro player and Pro Bowler for them in 2020. It’s worth noting that Chubb was selected to the PFWA All-Rookie team after his 2018 season where he registered 12 sacks in the season where he and Miller both wreaked havoc on opposing QB’s.
Chubb was the first OLB nominated for the PFN NFL Top 100 players of 2020. Considering the Kansas City Chiefs run a 4-3 defensive scheme, their defensive end is typically their edge rusher. Chiefs DE Frank Clark was selected to this list as the 97th overall player in the PFN Top 100 players of 2020.
71st Overall- A.J. Bouye, CB
Bouye appears on this list at 71st overall considering his scheme fit in Broncos head coach Vic Fangio’s defensive system. The pieces around Bouye at the pass rusher position, interior of the defensive line, and on the backend with Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson could help Bouye find similar success in 2020 that he saw with the Jaguars during 2017.
After the Jaguars traded away Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams last season, Bouye was the lone-remaining member of the dominant 2017 secondary that helped the Jaguars make it to the AFC Championship.
Bouye appears on this list ahead of other notable CBs like Richard Sherman of the San Franciso 49ers (94), Marlon Humphrey of the Baltimore Ravens (92), Casey Hayward of the Los Angeles Chargers (82), Byron Jones of the Miami Dolphins (80), Jaire Alexander of the Green Bay Packers (76), Xavien Howard of the Dolphins (75), and Marshon Lattimore of the New Orleans Saints (72).
For Bouye, 71st overall is a generous spot considering the performances Sherman, Jones, Lattimore, Alexander, and Hayward had for their teams respectively in 2019. The Broncos project for Bouye to be their CB1 on the field side against opposing offenses in 2020.
68th Overall – Justin Simmons, FS
Simmons arrives on the list at 68th overall after his first season in Fangio’s defensive scheme. After a career year in 2019, Simmons was recognized as a 2nd-team All-Pro at the safety position and finds himself in a position to become a cornerstone player for the Broncos beyond 2020.
There was hope that the Broncos and Simmons could come to terms on a long-term contract extension, but unfortunately, the two sides were apart in negotiations. Simmons will play for the Broncos in 2020 on the franchise tag in hopes of showcasing why he deserves a long-term deal.
After registering career highs in 2019 with four interceptions and 15 passes defended, he finds himself in a great position on PFN’s Top 100 NFL Players of 2020. At the safety position, Simmons finds himself ahead of Marcus Williams of the Saints (93), and Kevin Byard of the Tennessee Titans (69).
There are other players at the position like Vikings S Harrison Smith (61), Chargers S Derwin James (47), Chiefs DB Tyrann Mathieu (42), Steelers DB Minkah Fitzpatrick (41), and New York Jets S Jamal Adams (20), who are ahead of Simmons on the list. As Simmons’ productivity continues to increase in Fangio’s system, it’s likely he moves up several spots after the 2020 season.
28th Overall – Von Miller, OLB
The Broncos have two pass rushers featured on the PFN Top 100 Players of 2020, which speaks to the extent of the talent they possess defensively. Miller has been one of the league’s most feared and well-respected pass rushers.
Despite having only 8 sacks in 2019, Miller’s play still remained at an elite level against the rush and the pass. After Chubb’s season-ending injury, Miller faced more double teams and chip blocks than he did in the first four weeks of 2019, making every snap difficult for him to get to opposing QBs.
Miller comes in ahead of Green Bay Packers pass rusher Za’Darius Smith (53), Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt (44), Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett (34), and Vikings DE Danielle Hunter (31). Overall, Miller’s placement is worthy of his consistent level of play and dominance at the position since entering the league in 2011.
As Miller enters his 10th season in the NFL, he finds himself behind 49ers DE Nick Bosa (25), Saints DE Cameron Jordan (21), Chargers DE Joey Bosa (13), Steelers OLB T.J. Watt (12), Arizona Cardinals DE Chandler Jones (11), and Chicago Bears OLB Khalil Mack (9).
Which Broncos players should have made PFN’s Top 100?
The Denver Broncos were fortunate to have four players selected on the top 100 players of 2020, but a case could be made for several other Broncos players.
Kareem Jackson against Marcus Williams
Williams came in at 93rd overall for the Saints, but a case could be made for Kareem Jackson. When you compare the 2019 seasons of both players, Jackson played in two fewer games and had more overall tackles (71 combined) than Williams (55 combined). Jackson’s value to the Broncos was important for them in their efforts towards stopping the run.
Williams had four interceptions and 13 passes defended in comparison to Jackson who had two interceptions and 10 passes defended. Despite Jackson playing more of a hybrid role for the Broncos and Williams playing the deep middle as a free safety, usually, the player with more interceptions and passes defended gets the consideration.
Could Courtland Sutton have made a case for the Broncos at wide receiver?
Sutton’s rise at the receiver position is no longer a secret for the NFL. Despite registering over 1100 yards receiving and six touchdowns with three different quarterbacks, Sutton did not make the list.
Calvin Ridley of the Atlanta Falcons made the list at 100th overall despite missing three games in 2019 and only finishing with 866 yards receiving on 63 receptions. Ridley had seven total receiving touchdowns in comparison to Sutton who had six in 2019.
Rams WR Robert Woods came in at 89th on the list after having over 90 receptions, 1134 receiving yards and only two touchdowns. Sutton had 18 fewer receptions than Woods, 22 fewer receiving yards, but had four more touchdown catches. There is a case to be made that Sutton could have made the list over Woods.
With the Denver Broncos entering their first full season with quarterback Drew Lock under center, Sutton could see an increase in receptions, yards, and touchdowns next season with the supporting cast around him which could make him one of the league’s top players in 2020.
For exclusive Broncos content and coverage, please follow us on Twitter: @BroncosPFN