BRONCOS

Bradley Chubb and the Broncos are no longer haunted by the 2018 draft

Mar 18, 2022, 6:00 AM
DENVER, COLORADO - AUGUST 28: Bradley Chubb #55 of the Denver Broncos stands in the bench area duri...
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Russell Wilson’s arrival in Denver has the feeling that something major has taken place. Overnight, the Broncos went from irrelevant to Super Bowl contenders. Like Peyton Manning, Wilson’s teammates will benefit from playing with an elite franchise quarterback.

For the 2022 season, it would be easy to think the biggest beneficiaries of Wilson in orange and blue would be the wide receivers. However, there is one player that will the most by playing with Russell Wilson: Bradley Chubb.

In his opening press conference, Wilson relayed a story about visiting North Carolina State when Chubb was in college and they spoke about playing together in the NFL. That time has come, and it could not have come at a better time for Chubb.

Chubb was drafted fifth overall in the 2018 NFL Draft and was viewed as a “can’t miss” prospect. The problem, however, was that the Broncos had needs besides edge rusher, specifically quarterback. The Broncos opted to not draft Josh Allen, Josh Rosen or Lamar Jackson and instead drafted Chubb.

Considering the Broncos had Von Miller and Shaq Barrett already on the roster, a pass rusher wasn’t necessary. Everybody agreed Chubb was talented, but the draft pick was puzzling.

While Rosen was a bust, Allen and Jackson have developed into two of the most-effective young quarterbacks in the NFL. Combine that with Chubb’s inability to stay healthy and Broncos Country has been dissatisfied with Chubb’s tenure in Denver.

The better Allen performed, the more discontent Broncos Country grew on Chubb. Through no fault of his own, Chubb became the face of bad decisions by the Broncos. Every time Chubb took the field or was injured, he was a billboard for the Broncos refusal to improve the quarterback position.

That all ended this week. We can all move on from the 2018 NFL Draft. It doesn’t matter anymore.

With the arrival of Wilson, the narrative that the Broncos should have drafted Allen or Jackson is gone. Chubb’s presence on the field will no longer serve as a reminder that the Broncos don’t have a franchise quarterback.

Wilson and the offense are now the focus of the Broncos success. Everything is about Wilson rather than the past six seasons where the Broncos foolishly tried to win with defense.

Chubb no longer carries the burden of having to prove he was worth drafting over a quarterback. From here on out, the pass rusher’s success will be about his production, rather than his production compared to that of Allen or Jackson.

At times, people’s dislike of the draft pick started to turn into a dislike of Chubb himself, which was unfair. Mentally, Chubb should have an easier time playing football.

Chubb’s ability to disrupt a game will also benefit from Wilson’s presence. Chubb has never played with an offense that had the ability to score consistently. With a higher-scoring offense, Chubb will have better opportunities to rush the passer as opponents will have obvious pass situations.

D.J. Jones and Randy Gregory both signed with the Broncos this week. While not said directly, the appeal of playing with Wilson no doubt played a role in their decision.

Jones and Gregory will make Chubb’s life easier. Besides his rookie season, Chubb has not played with an elite complimentary pass rusher, and Gregory will fill that role. Offenses will have to choose who to double team.

Heading into his contract year, as long as he can stay healthy, Chubb can have a breakout year and leave the challenges of his four years in the past.

Bradley Chubb and Broncos Country are no longer haunted by the 2018 draft. That time is over. With a franchise quarterback, Chubb can shine without any “yeah, but” comments. All of Broncos Country, from those in the organization to the fan base, will reap the awards of Russell Wilson, but none more than Bradley Chubb.

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