Pro Football Focus recently released its All-Decade Team, centered around the best players from 2006 to 2015. It was divided into first and second teams. The Denver Broncos were represented well, placing four players, all on the defensive side.
Here is a recap of all the current Broncos who made the cut, along with a list of their accomplishments.
Von Miller, Edge Rusher (First Team)
According to PFF, Von Miller graded out at an average of 93.3, which led all edge rushers. Despite being miscast as a 4-3 outside linebacker for the first part of his career, Miller was turned loose under the direction of coordinator Wade Phillips last season.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1681565-5-reasons-you-should-go-p... Now playing as a 3-4 rush linebacker, Miller unlocked his enormous potential, turning in a solid regular season and a dominant postseason that culminated in a Super Bowl win and a Most Valuable Player award.
Along with being the MVP on the game’s biggest stage, Miller was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2011, a four-time first team All-Pro and a four-time Pro Bowler. Now the highest paid defensive player in the league and entering his athletic prime at just 27, look for Miller to be part of another PFF All-Decade League in the coming years.
Miller’s place among the best player in the game today is fully cemented and should be going forward.
DeMarcus Ware, Edge Rusher (Second Team)
The NFL is notorious for being a young man’s league, but someone forgot to tell DeMarcus Ware. Known around the league as a player who does everything possible to keep his body in supreme condition, Ware became the face of the Dallas Cowboys defense from 2005 all the way to his parting in 2014.
Finding a new lease on life in Denver, Ware would continue his strong play and finally capture the Championship that eluded him in Dallas this past year at Super Bowl 50.
In a Hall-of-Fame worthy career, DeMarcus Ware is a nine-time Pro Bowler, a four-time All-Pro first team selection, a three-time All-Pro second team choice, a two-time NFL season sack leader and the NFC Defensive Player of the Year. The argument can be made that if not for Von Miller coming along, Ware would be named to the first team based on his longevity and excellent body of work.
Champ Bailey, Cornerback (Second Team)
Along with positions like franchise quarterback and left tackle, the hardest position to be found on any football team is the shutdown cornerback. After arriving in Denver in the blockbuster trade that would send Clinton Portis to Washington, Bailey went on to have his most productive years of his career.
Among his accomplishments were: 12-time Pro Bowler, five-time All-Pro first team selection, two-time All-Pro second team selection and being named to the NFL All Decade Team of the 2000’s.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1696184-15-off-all-tickets-throug... What always stood out to me watching Broncos games during Bailey’s time here was his level of dominance against the opposition. While even the elite defensive backs of today, like Richard Sherman and Vontae Davis, see few passes come their way during a game, I would find there would be whole games where I couldn’t remember seeing a pass targeted at Bailey, leaving one half of the field virtually covered.
Bailey broke many of the stereotypes attributed to premier defensive backs. He didn’t brag about being the best cornerback on the field but rather proved it with his performance on the field, earning his place on PFF’s list
Chris Harris, Jr., Slot Corner (Second Team)
Harris is the personification of the American Dream. If you work hard and pay your dues, you can achieve anything. Going all the way back to his senior year at Kansas, Harris was miscast as a safety, causing to him to fall out of the Draft altogether and end up signing with Denver as a college free agent for the meager sum of a $2,000 signing bonus.
Harris was entrusted with very little in his start with Denver and slowly climbed his way up the depth chart; working his way from special teams ace, to making the active roster, to being one of the finest slot corners in the game today.
In today’s NFL, most teams have a third defensive back who will often see the field during the game. What makes Harris stand out amongs those players is that, for being as good a cornerback as any in the league, he could be considered a top-five defender as a corner in a base defense and in the nickel covering the slot receivers.
During his time in Denver, Harris has received the following accolades: two-time Pro Bowler, two-time second team All-Pro and three-time PFF All-Pro. Not bad for a player that was thought to be too slow to play corner and not big enough to play safety in the NFL. Due to the changing landscape of the NFL, Harris has pushed to the forefront of a new kind of player that teams covet.
As one of the most successful franchises in the league, it is only fitting that the Denver Broncos would have multiple players on the list. While arguments will be made for a player like Demaryius Thomas to have made the list, it is a testament to the health of the franchise to have such prominent names on this list. We honor these players for their accomplishments and look forward to seeing more Orange and Blue on PFF’s list in the years to come.
Adam Uribes is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @auribes37.
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