Three takeaways from PFF grades at the Broncos bye
As we head into the bye weekend for the Denver Broncos, it’s a good time to take stock of how the orange and blue measure up with the rest of the league.
From the crop of rookies making a name for themselves across the NFL to an elite-level wide receiving corps, there are plenty of positives for Denver despite its rollercoaster ride to 5-5 through 10 weeks.
Here are three key take away from Pro Football Focus as the Broncos head into the back half of their 2021 campaign:
Broncos are quite deep at WR
Heading into the season, the Denver wide receiver room was highly touted, especially with the return of Courtland Sutton from an ACL tear a year ago.
What separates the Broncos corps from the rest of the NFL, however, is its depth.
According to Pro Football Focus, Denver is one of only two teams league wide with four players grading out at 70 or higher — Sutton at 78.4, Jerry Jeudy at 72.9, Tim Patrick at 72.9 and Kendall Hinton at 71.6.
The rookies are shining
While the hype heading into the season surrounded Broncos top pick Pat Surtain II, he’s not the only rookie making a name for himself across the NFL.
With a 71.8 grade, Javonte Williams ranks 24th among all running backs in the league, leading veteran running back Melvin Gordon III by 2 grade points (69.9/30th).
Williams also has the most forced missed tackles (38) on running plays in the league at just 103 carries.
Perhaps more exciting is the emergence of rookie edge rusher Jonathon Cooper, who ranks 40th in his position group — and third among rookie edge defenders — with a grade of 70.2.
Cooper also ranks second in run defense (73.3) among all rookie edge defenders and sixth (15) in pressures.
Surtain, however, has more of a middling grade (61.4) for his rookie campaign so far, ranking 63rd of 119 cornerbacks in the NFL.
Justin Simmons is elite
Despite ranking 34th among all safeties with a PFF grade of 67.8, Justin Simmons has been elite as of late.
Over the past month, according to PFF, Justin Simmons has had as many interceptions and forced incompletions as catches allowed (5).
Against Philadelphia Eagles this past Sunday, Simmons didn’t allow a single catch and had an interception.
And speaking of picks, Simmons ranks tied for fourth in the NFL with four on the season.