Vance Joseph impressed with Broncos’ OLB depth

The Denver Broncos plan to get after the quarterback with waves of pass rushers this season. With a deep outside linebacker depth chart, the Broncos can rotate edge defenders to keep them fresh throughout a game.

Randy Gregory and (when healthy) Baron Browning are the team’s two starters and there’s promising depth behind them. Browning is currently out injured so the team signed Frank Clark to have a veteran fallback option.

Third-year outside linebacker Jonathon Cooper has also impressed this summer, and he has started over Clark in preseason. The Broncos also have second-year pass rusher Nik Bonitto, the team’s second-round draft pick in 2022.

Behind those top five OLBs, Denver also has special teams ace Aaron Patrick and a trio of young pass rushers.

“It’s the best room I’ve had from one to six in a very long time,” Broncos defensive coordinator Vance Jospeh said on Aug. 8. “Having a bunch of rushers with different traits has been fun to watch. Having a plan for each guys to get enough reps to be effective during the game is going to be important for me.

“Having Randy, Frank, ‘Coop’ and Bonitto and then when Baron comes back, that’s a really good room. We’ve got two young guys breaking glass also. It’s a good room.”

Denver totaled 36 sacks last season, which ranked ninth-worst in the NFL. Individually, Dre’Mont Jones (who is no longer with the club) led the team with 6.5. Next up was Bradley Chubb (5.5), who is also no longer with the team. The Broncos will need more from their pass rushers in 2023, and Cooper believes the unit is trending in the right direction.

“I think we progressed a lot,” Cooper said on Aug. 19. “Obviously, getting some new guys in here and then developing the young guys who have been here. We got to do better in the pass rush, obviously. That’s been the emphasis. I think last year we had 30-some sacks.

“Coach [Sean Payton] talks about it all the time. That’s not the standard. That’s not what we’re settling for at all. I feel like that was just a little glimpse of our pass rush right now and we’re only going to get better week by week.”

Denver will aim to top their 36-sack total from a year ago. Individually, getting multiple players above 6.5 sacks would help the Broncos approach 40-plus sacks. Denver’s pass rushers will make their 2023 debut when the team hosts the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1.

Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire