Broncos Insider: What Denver players are most deserving of a Pro Bowl nod?

Nine games into another disappointing season, what Broncos are deserving of a Pro Bowl vote?

Coronavirus has, of course, wiped out the Pro Bowl game itself, but from now through Dec. 17, fans can still vote for players to receive the honor at NFL.com/ProBowlVote.

Here’s a look at the Pro Bowl candidacies of the most deserving Broncos:

After inconsistencies and a penchant for penalties led the Broncos to decline his fifth-year option during the offseason, left tackle Garrett Bolles is having the best year of any Denver offensive lineman. He’s again been durable, having played every snap this season after starting 16 games the prior three years, and that availability has finally been matched by an uptick in play. Bolles has allowed 6.5 disruptions and a half-sack this season, as well as 3.5 “bad” run plays, and is putting himself in a solid position entering free agency after this year.

While the Broncos special teams have largely been a disaster, again, kicker Brandon McManus is the exception to that rule. After signing a four-year contract extension just before the start of the season, McManus has been money, hitting 18-of-19 field goals (.947) with his lone miss coming from 58 yards in the Week 2 loss in Pittsburgh.

The 29-year-old, who is the most accurate kicker in franchise history at 83.7%, has been named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week twice, including setting the team record with six field goals in the Week 6 win over New England. And he’s been reliable from distance, going 6-of-7 from 50-plus yards to tie for the league lead in that category.

Beyond those two, the team’s other most bonafide Pro Bowl candidate is safety Justin Simmons. A second-team All-Pro selection last year, Simmons got Denver’s franchise tag in the offseason and has continued to play like a franchise player in the secondary. He leads the team with three interceptions, and needs just one more pick to become the third Denver player to record 15 interceptions during his first five seasons with the team. He’s clearly one of the league’s best safeties, both in coverage and in physicality, as he has 58 tackles (47 solo).

Also worthy of consideration for votes are cornerback Bryce Callahan, defensive end Shelby Harris and rookie wideout Jerry Jeudy. After missing all of 2019 due to a foot injury, Callahan is showing Broncos fans why Vic Fangio valued him so highly dating back to their time together in Chicago. Callahan has two interceptions and 35 tackles (29 solo).

Harris will miss his third consecutive game this Sunday against Miami due to COVID-19, but the 29-year-old has played like an elite defensive end through seven games, recording 2.5 sacks, 23 tackles, three pass deflections and a forced fumble. Jeudy also has a fringe case for a Pro Bowl nod, as the rookie wideout has 34 catches for 552 yards (16.2 average) with two touchdowns this year. Several strong games before voting closes would further bolster his candidacy.

— Kyle Newman, The Denver Post


 

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