Good morning, Broncos Country.
It seems like only yesterday that the Denver Broncos were on pace to replicate their woeful 2017 campaign that resulted in a top five draft selection and a smorgasbord of questions with respect to the team’s future. Many fans had given up and threw in the proverbial towel on the 2018 season the coaches and players never did. In the face of scrutiny and against all odds, the Broncos have turned things around the past three weeks and are in the middle of the playoff hunt.
Time flies when you are having fun. It has been an absolute pleasure to see the immense turnaround the Broncos have embarked upon as of late. The revamped offensive line has been tremendous, the defensive is forcing key takeaways and Case Keenum is emerging as the quarterback the franchise hoped he would be when they signed him to a two-year deal this past March. Above all else, the impact the Broncos’ rookie class have played a key cog in their recent success.
Broncos RB @I_CU_boy (19-157, 8.3, 2 TD) today became the 1st NFL player in 11 seasons (Fred Taylor, ‘07) to post three consecutive games averaging at least seven yards per carry (min. 10 att.).
Lindsay is the first rookie to accomplish that feat in 25 yrs (Jerome Bettis, ‘93). pic.twitter.com/AOW0bFXZ7C
— Patrick Smyth (@psmyth12) December 2, 2018
On the offensive side of the ball, three players are making themselves household names in the Mile High City. Wide receiver Courtland Sutton has demonstrated the uncanny ability to haul in incredible catches and is having one of the best rookie seasons at the position in team history. Phillip Lindsay is having a record-setting year despite being a NFL Draft afterthought. I don’t think anyone imagined he would have accomplished what he has thus far. He has outplayed third-round pick Royce Freeman, who has done quite well for himself in his opportunities to date.
Without question, the Broncos have their future number one receiver and running back duo of the future that ooze top-tier potential. Teams should be worried because those three aren’t going to slow down anytime soon. In fact, they are only going to get better.
Defensively, first-round pick Bradley Chubb has become an absolute terror to defend against after a slow start to his career. With ten sacks on the season, Chubb is only four and a half sacks away from tying Jevon Kearse’s rookie sack record. If he is able to topple that record there is no doubt in my mind he should win Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Most everyone envisioned Chubb would be a star for the franchise, but few believed he would be playing like an All-Pro in his rookie year.
Not only that, Chubb’s defensive counterparts Josey Jewell and Isaac Yiadom have also flashed. Though they have had their shares of ups and downs, their trial by fire will bode well for them as they continue to develop. A continued increase in playing time and earning valuable experience will better prepare them for next season where they will likely be counted on even more than they are now.
It’s incredibly rare for a draft class to make this big of an impact early on. It usually takes a few years for young players to hit their stride, but the fact that a half dozen rookies are paying big dividends for the Broncos is truly special. No matter what happens in the last four games of the season one thing is certain: The Broncos have a youthful foundation that have the opportunity to take them back to the promise land.
If John Elway and his staff can put together another class similar to this in the 2019 NFL Draft — the Broncos will be able to compete for championships year in and year out. The future is bright. Let’s be thankful and embrace it.
As always, thank you for reading and here is today’s offering of Horse Tracks.
Without him, Chris Harris feels Broncos’ secondary remains up-to-task
A league source confirmed multiple reports that veteran Jamar Taylor could be in the mix to sign with the Broncos.
Phillip Lindsay nominated for two NFL awards after Week 13 performance
Cast your vote for Lindsay after a 157-yard, two-touchdown rushing performance.
Power rankings roundup: Broncos heating up after third straight win
The Broncos continue to climb in national analysts’ power rankings.
Simmons one of only four NFL defenders to achieve rare feat
Justin Simmons has been a versatile iron man for the Broncos in 2018.
San Francisco 49ers Scouting Report: George Kittle among NFL’s best tight ends this year
A 2016 fifth-round pick from Iowa, Kittle is one of the 49ers’ few bright spots.
James Conner (ankle) ruled out for Steelers-Raiders – NFL.com
The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without running back James Conner this week when they face the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Conner suffered an ankle injury in Sunday’s loss to the Chargers.
Jerry Jones: LB Sean Lee will be starter when healthy – NFL.com
Jerry Jones said once Cowboys veteran LB Sean Lee is healthy, he’ll get his starting job back. The news comes as a surprise considering the success of rookie Leighton Vander Esch this season.
Dallas Cowboys’ Randy Gregory talks about being ‘in a real bad place’
Dallas Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory bottomed out a year ago and sought help for depression, drugs and other issues. Today, he is playing football again, fighting to stay clean and help his team to the playoffs. It’s December, and there’s hope.
All three incidents to factor into suspension for former Kansas City Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt
The NFL is considering three separate off-field incidents as it works toward a final decision on discipline for ex-Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt. The result is likely to be a multigame suspension that stretches into next season, sources told ESPN.
Scouting the ACC: 2018 Regular Season in Review – The Draft Network
Now that the regular season has ended, what have we learned from scouting the ACC throughout the 2018 college football season?
2019 NFL Draft order and team needs: Packers slip into top 10 – NFL.com
Which pick in the 2019 NFL Draft does your team hold, and what are the top needs for all 32 clubs? Have a look at where things stand for your squad coming out of Week 13.