Grading The Performances of the Denver Broncos Defensive Players In Game 3 Of The 2016 Preseason

The Broncos defense played really well in their latest preseason win. How did they do on an individual level? Erick Trickel examines.

The Denver Broncos defense took control of the game from the start and didn’t let up. They made some big mistakes, but overall played a great game.

They showed exactly why they should be considered a top defense, if not the top, for this upcoming season. With that said, let us jump into the player grades.

Defensive Line

1. Derek Wolfe: DNP
2. Sylvester Williams: 97.2
3. Jared Crick: 68.2
4. Adam Gotsis: 63.9
5. Henry Melton 81.2
6. Darius Kilgo: 88.7
7. Billy Winn 80.2
8. Kyle Peko: 76.7
9. Lars KohtDNP
10. David Moala: 76.2
11. Calvin Heurtelou: 54.3

The top seven here make the roster, leaving Winn as the final guy to make it. Wolfe didn’t play, but he will be the top guy on the defensive line.

At nose tackle the Broncos have Williams, who showed some great pass rush in the recent win, especially on a sack where he had an excellent spin move. Unfortunately Williams missed out of the sack. Crick and Gotsis started the game and played decently, but made their fair share of mistakes. Melton, who was signed not even a week before the game, saw a good amount of action and played well, especially against the run.

As for Kilgo and Winn, they also played well enough, especially Kilgo who has really grown as a player. Peko and Koht seem to be fighting for a practice squad spot. Moala and Heurelou were part of the first 11 cuts to trim down to 75 players.

Outside Linebacker

1. Von Miller: 99.7
2. Shane Ray: 71.2
3. Shaquil Barrett: 73.3
4. DeMarcus WareDNP
5. Dekoda Watson: 99.8
6. Vontarrius Dora: 89.7
7. Sadat Sulleyman: 81.8
8. Eddie Yarbrough: 67.9

Miller is, obviously, the starter for the Broncos and is their primary pass rusher. He had a sack against the Rams, which was a thing of beauty. He also had some other pressures and some good play against the run. Ray and Barrett are still growing players and showed their rough edges against the Rams, but also showed their potential. Ware didn’t play, but will make the roster and be a pass rush specialist.

As for the remaining players, there is one spot left open, as the Broncos will carry five outside linebackers. Evaluating the preseason games, Watson seems to have the final spot cemented.

He has been outstanding both in games and in practice, on defense and special teams. Dora is the next one up, but is behind Watson. Against the Rams, Dora played really well and seems to have a leg up on Sulleyman and Yarbrough, one of whom could make the practice squad along with Dora.

Inside Linebacker

1. Brandon Marshall: 78.2
2. Todd Davis: 98.1
3. Zaire Anderson: 87.7
4. Corey Nelson: 77.3
5. Dwayne Norman: 81.2
6. Kyle KragenDNP
7. Frank ShannonDNP
8. Darnell SankeyDNP

Expect four to make it here, and the choices are obvious. Marshall is a stud and has his spot cemented. Next to him you’ll find Davis, who played excellently against the Rams. He seemed to have put a wrap on the competition for that spot.

Anderson has outplayed Nelson all preseason and should have taken over the No. 3 spot, especially after their respective performances against the Rams. Those four are the ones who make the roster.

Norman has played well and should have a practice squad spot. Meanwhile, Kragen hasn’t played and the Broncos could be trying to hide him and get him on the practice squad. Shannon and Sankey were part of the first 11 cuts.


1. Aqib Talib: 89.1
2. Chris Harris, Jr.: 79.2
3. Bradley Roby: 77.8
4. Kayvon Webster: 85.5
5. Lorenzo Doss: 80.1
6. Taurean Nixon: 73.2
7. B.J. LoweryDNP
8. John TidwellDNP

Many want to talk down on Talib after a hit on Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum, as he was scrambling out of bounds. However, the hit was perfectly legal but was flagged for a bad penalty.

Harris played well, but showed some of his flaws when covering on the outside. The one who struggled some was Roby, but it wasn’t a bad day of work for him.

Webster and Doss round out the five corners to make the roster, after playing good games against the Rams and throughout the preseason. Nixon should find himself on the practice squad, with Lowery and Tidwell among the first wave of roster cuts. The top five make it here.


1. T.J. Ward: 94.5
2. Darian Stewart: 85.3
3. Justin Simmons: 88.6
4. Will Parks: 78.3
5. Shiloh Keo: 56.2
6. Ryan Murphy: 57.7
7. Brandian Ross: 53.6
8. Antonio GloverDNP

Only four make it for the safeties, with Keo landing on the suspended list, if not cut. Keo hasn’t performed this preseason, so letting the veteran go is a possibility. Ward and Stewart are your top two safeties and they played like it, with few blunders.

The rookies, Simmons and Parks, round out the group and have played really well in their preseason action. Murphy played poorly in limited action in Game 3 but made it through the first 11 cuts, unlike Ross and Glover.

Erick Trickel in an Analyst for MileHighHuddle. You can find him on Twitter @Trickel_MHH. And be sure to like MileHighHuddle on Facebook

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