The NFL’s all-star game—the Pro Bowl—is more of a popularity contest than a true effort at an all-star game. While the Denver Broncos have certainly been mediocre for the last five years, they have been criminally underrepresented in this game. Over the last two years, only four Denver players combined were elected to the Pro Bowl. This is despite countless others being more than deserving of the recognition. The 2021 Denver Broncos roster, however, presents the franchise’s best shot at receiving more Pro Bowl selections in years. These five players are most likely to become Denver Broncos Pro Bowlers in 2021.
Denver Broncos Most Likely Pro Bowlers in 2021
Von Miller is a true face of the franchise and Denver’s sack king. He has made the Pro Bowl in every single season of his career with the exceptions of an injury- and suspension-shortened 2013 and 2020, which he missed the entirety of due to injury. Before 2020 (which he did not play a snap in) in fact, Miller was elected to six consecutive Pro Bowls.
He enters 2021 finally healthy. Miller also enters 2021 ready to play in head coach Vic Fangio’s system with the best surrounding cast Miller has had since the No Fly Zone defense of 2015. If he can stay healthy, Miller should break double-digit sacks again for the first time since 2018. By extension, his production should help his fellow edge rushers and the secondary behind him to post good numbers as well.
Name recognition is pivotal for Pro Bowl voting when it comes to teams as ignored by national media as the Broncos. There is not a single football fan who does not know who Von Miller is. As such, it seems a true no-brainer for a healthy, reinvigorated Miller to continue extending his franchise record for sacks. It seems a no-brainer, as well, that Miller would tie the franchise record for Pro Bowl selections for a defender.
Kyle Fuller is an interesting case. Fellow cornerback Bryce Callahan finished 2020 as Denver’s top corner and arguably the league’s top nickelback. Many might expect Callahan to make the Pro Bowl over a player in his first year with the team, but Fuller is not unfamiliar with Vic Fangio.
It was Fangio with whom Fuller produced his best professional season in 2018. Seven interceptions and 21 pass deflections characterized a Pro Bowl, First-Team All-Pro year for Fuller. The role Fuller will fill on the 2021 Denver Broncos should help him (and the secondary as a whole) to reach big numbers. This secondary is invariably the best he’s played with in his career, let alone his life. The sudden depth at cornerback should provide him with ample opportunities for big plays. Additionally, the mental aspect of his fresh start in Denver cannot be understated and sets the stage for Fuller to become one of 2021’s Denver Broncos Pro Bowlers.
Justin Simmons has inexplicably only made one Pro Bowl in his career despite being almost inarguably the best safety in football for (at least) two years running. He hasn’t missed a snap in three years and has been the undisputed leader of the defense, especially with Miller sidelined on injured reserve in 2020. Over the last two seasons, Simmons accrued nine interceptions and 24 deflections.
After a huge extension and with better depth at safety in 2021 than in 2020, Simmons is poised for another outstanding year. This is also the best secondary Denver has had since 2015. In fact, this defense has a serious case for the best secondary in the league. If his numbers are anything like the last two years, he will again finish the year as one of the best (if not the best) safeties in football. Should the secondary perform as expected, Simmons’s production is more than enough for a Pro Bowl selection for the second consecutive season.
It’s true, Courtland Sutton is the more obvious possibility when it comes to the 2021 Pro Bowl. However, national recognition and acknowledgment of the Broncos is limited and Jerry Jeudy is a flashier player with a more recognizable name to media and casual fans. The Pro Bowl is, again, essentially a popularity contest and Jeudy can use an improved second season to combine with his star power to become one of 2021’s Denver Broncos Pro Bowlers.
As a rookie, Jeudy posted 52 catches for 856 yards and three touchdowns. His 94-yard touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders was—league-wide—the longest offensive touchdown of the entire 2020 season. As a sophomore in the NFL, Jeudy should improve on his concentration and cut down on his credited 10 drops from 2020. If he can do so, the return of Courtland Sutton and the development of Tim Patrick, K.J. Hamler, and Noah Fant should create one-on-one opportunities for the crafty route-runner. These opportunities most likely would translate to national recognition due to his star power— and by extension, a Pro Bowl berth.
Garett Bolles had easily the best year of his career in 2020 and somehow still was not a Pro Bowler. His second year under offensive line coach Mike Munchak saw him finish as one of the best offensive tackles in all of football. Another year in the same system with the same coaching should help him build off of his Second-Team All-Pro selection in 2020.
Making his first Pro Bowl seems incredibly likely if he can continue from where he left off last year. Bolles’s success should inherently lead to success from quarterbacks, running backs, and pass-catchers alike. If Bolles can become one of the Denver Broncos Pro Bowlers in 2021, it bodes incredibly well for the rest of the offense.
The team will need more than two Denver Broncos Pro Bowlers in 2021 if they want to be competitive. After two consecutive years of only two Broncos receiving an invitation to the so-called all-star game, 2021 is a wonderful opportunity. Vic Fangio needs a big year out of his defense. A big year on the defensive side of the ball should pay dividends for the offense as well. If the most complete Broncos roster in many years can perform as expected, two is a low estimate for 2021’s Denver Broncos Pro Bowlers.
Broncos Country must hope the national media finally gives credit where it is due. They must also hope the right men for the job comprise the coaching staff. The roster is ready for big things. However, only the right coaching staff and scheme can pull those big things out of the roster. If there are to be more than two Denver Broncos Pro Bowlers in 2021, coaches and players must work seamlessly together.
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