State of the 2016 Denver Broncos: Outside Linebackers

Mile High Huddle brings you State of the Broncos—a position by position evaluation of the roster. Today's edition focuses on the outside linebackers. Analyst Khalid Alshami breaks it down.

The 2015 Denver Broncos boasted arguably the greatest defense to ever grace an NFL field. That defense returns all of their major pass rushers in 2016, with the subtraction of Malik Jackson—who left Denver to sign with Jacksonville Jaguars.

The big question mark surrounding the Broncos right now is Von Miller. Miller has been in and out of the news with his current contract situation with the team saying one thing while he and his representatives say another. Let's squash this right now. In 2016, Von Miller will be wearing a Broncos uniform, while terrorizing opposing offenses. He is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL and is undoubtedly the best edge rusher in the league.

The politics and rhetoric surrounding contract negotiations are often lost on fans and this case is no different. Miller was low-balled on his initial contract offer from GM John Elway—anyone who has an opinion that matters will tell you that.

But it is a process. Miller has to say that he won't play for the Broncos under the tag in 2016, because he has to—it's a way to gain leverage. There is no scenario where Miller does not suit up for the Broncos in 2016. The Broncos in turn are in a position where they have offer Miller a contract that is more fair to the player.

As Aaron Rodgers once said... R-E-L-A-X

Projected Depth Chart

Weakside Outside Linebacker: Von MillerShaquil Barrett

Strongside Outside Linebacker: Shane RayDeMarcus Ware

Miller returns to terrorize opposing offenses and will normally line up against opposing right tackles. He will again be backed up by Shaq Barrett, who looks to build on his breakout year in 2015. The Broncos are bullish on Barrett and as a result have rebuffed numerous trade offers. the strong side, 2015 1st round pick Shane Ray steps into the starting lineup as veteran DeMarcus Ware moves to a situational pass rusher role that should help allow his body to remain fresh and healthy for the season. As evidenced by the playoff run, Ware can still get after opposing QBs with the best of them. Ray will look to make a big jump in year two, and has said that any less than 10 sacks would represent a failed season for him.

RELATEDState of the Broncos: Inside Linebackers

Behind them, undrafted rookie free agent Eddie Yarbrough is an intriguing hometown prospect the team signed out of Wyoming. Yarbough will be transitioning from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker. He has intriguing talent and is a player likely to land on the practice squad.

Free Agent Options

The Broncos are set at OLB, but if injuries were to befall the team, there is at least one enticing option, Anthony Spencer.

Spencer was drafted by and played three seasons for defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, in addition to playing across from Ware for much of his career.

RELATEDState of the Broncos: Quarterbacks

RELATEDState of the Broncos: Running Backs

RELATEDState of the Broncos: Wide Receivers

RELATEDState of the Broncos: Tight Ends

RELATEDState of the Broncos: Offensive Line

Khalid Alshami is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @KhalidHAlshami. And be sure to like MileHighHuddle on Facebook

You can find Mile High Huddle on Twitter @MileHighHuddle and become a subscriber to receive access to premium content and discounted Broncos tickets and merchandise.


Mile High Huddle Top Stories