The Broncos ranked fourth in the NFL in pass defense last year, and they’ve finished in the top five for three consecutive seasons. Denver also ranked fifth against the run, yielding just 3.3 yards per carry. Von Miller had 10 sacks (his fourth straight season with a double-digit sack total) and remains one of the most dangerous edge rushers in the game. Although the Broncos dealt away stud CB Aqib Talib in the offseason, they still have a very good pair of cover men in Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby. They also drafted a fearsome new bookend for Miller, Bradley Chubb, with the fifth overall pick.
With only 33 sacks and 17 takeaways, the Broncos ranked 20th in fantasy scoring -- and they might have finished closer to the cellar if not for four defensive touchdowns. Despite giving up relatively few passing yards, Denver ranked in the bottom half of the league in opponent passer rating and gave up 29 TD passes, the fifth-highest total in the league. The departures of Talib and safety T.J. Ward have weakened a once-mighty secondary. Shane Ray, the young edge rusher who was supposed to complement Miller, played only eight games last season and has undergone multiple wrist surgeries. He’s had 13 sacks in his three seasons in the Mile High City. Linebacker (aside from Miller) appears to be a major area of concern, and the defensive line looks average.
The Denver defense might be a paper tiger in 2018. Likely to be overdrafted after a sustained run of excellence, this unit has been stripped of many of its key parts and now appears to be a shell of what it was just two seasons ago. Let someone else chase the shadows of past glory.