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Will The Defensive Ends Of Denver Broncos Dominate Minus Malik Jackson?

Willis McGahee.

With the NFL offseason still ongoing, many players flee to different places for vacation and rest before getting back to the training camp to prepare for the hard work. As such, fans only hope that their favorite players resume the 2016 season safe and sound. Even though many people say the NFL season never stops, the offseason is the time NFL Odds could either improve or worsen.

When it comes to the Broncos, the team is yet to forget their recent Super Bowl win, even with some players leaving the squad in free agency for greener pastures. Malik Jackson, their defensive end, signed a six-year $90 million deal to join the Jaguars, leaving the Broncos with a massive void. The biggest hurdle for the Broncos is whether they will fill the void left by Malik Jackson and Antonio Smith, and maintain or improve their performance.

Even though Jackson’s pricing proved too high for Elway, he went ahead to secure Jared Crick from Houston Texas for $4m on a two-year deal, one month after the free agency started. In the second round, he also drafted Adam Gotsis. Crick joins the Broncos with the high likelihood of becoming a starter. The Australian-born Gotsis has already adapted to American football and he would probably adjust further with an ordinary rookie learning curve.

The blend of Crick and Gotsis in the squad will surely boost the Broncos dependence on Vance Walker and Derek Wolfe, who played exceptionally well last season. The combination of Jackson and the free agent Smith played their defensive end positions very well last season. Jackson played in 75 percent of the overall snaps, whereas Smith played in 33 percent. With Houston, Crick played in an impressive 74.9 percent last year, while Walker and Wolfe playing in 34.8 percent and 59.2 percent for the Broncos correspondingly.

Therefore, the departure of Jackson and Smiths calls for a 70 percent from Wolfes, 60-70 percent from Cricks, and another combined 60-70 percent from Anunike, Gotsis, and Walker for the remaining snaps. The Broncos have talented five-man defensive end to rotate, and losing Jackson and Smith should not deter them from doing better this year

Key Player: Derek Wolfe

After signing a huge contract in last year’s mid-season, Wolfe now has the biggest assignment of his career next season to become lead the Bronco’s defensive line. His combination with Jackson last year solidified the defensive line, but he did not handle such a task singlehandedly. Without Jackson, Wolfe must step up his game to lead the three defensive linemen.

Even though the Broncos will rotate five players for the two defensive end positions, at least one of the players must play a bigger role in the by creating turnovers and exerting continuous pressure in the offensive line like Jackson did last year. Arguably, Wolfe is only player who can deliver such results naturally. If he can match Jackson, the rest of the defensive linemen only need to play averagely to dominate their opponents.

Surprise Player: Jared Crick

As a starter, Crick has a similar style of play as his ex-teammate J.J. Watt. As such, he can trigger a run game and pressurize the passer. Crick has the opportunity of increasing his value next season from his current $2 million price tag because he can make an impact on the defensive line just like Jackson.

Critics have always trailed Crick’s collegiate and professional career, terming him as a weak defensive end. However, he has always played along with great players, such as Ndamukong Suh at Nebraska, and Watt at Houston. As such, many opponents seemed to attack from Crick’s defensive line rather than using the side of Watt or Suh to worsen Crick’s defensive line.

Crick could have the best season of his career because he won’t be playing alongside defensive line superstars. Even though Wolfe may take over the Bronco’s defensive line this season, Crick could develop his name as one of NFL’s exceptional defensive end.

Grade: B

The drafting of Crick and Gotsis gives the Bronco’s the golden opportunity to tighten their defensive lines even after Malik Jackson and Antonio Smith left for greener pastures. The five-man rotation will contribute tremendously to their defense in the upcoming season. Irrespective of injuries or terrible play by Wolfe, the defensive line of Denver Broncos deserves a grade of at least B or a high of A- provided that Crick and Gotsis perform remarkably well this year. The team currently has a great defense, and the defensive ends should easily succeed in their plans to do very well.

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