When looking at projections for the upcoming NFL season, a team expected to make a big leap up the standings are the Denver Broncos. Most of their roster for the future is solidified thanks to a strong 2020 NFL Draft class. But, there are some pivotal players set to hit the. open market next year.
Here are three that have the most to prove this upcoming season.
3. WR Tim Patrick
The Broncos drastically improved at the wide receiver position this offseason by adding Alabama's Jerry Jeudy and Penn State's KJ Hamler in the draft. Perhaps someone affected the most by these additions is Tim Patrick. The former Utah Ute spent the past two seasons in the Mile High City, recording 39 receptions for 533 yards and one touchdown. He's tentatively listed as the No. 4 receiver on the Broncos' depth chart. It's hard to envision Patrick having much of an impact, considering the tremendous skillset of the rookie wideouts. But, he simply has to make the most of his opportunities. He can't afford to miss.
2. OT Garett Bolles
Garett Bolles has been a bit of a frustrating draft pick if you're a Broncos fan. Bolles was projected to be Denver's blindside blocker for the foreseeable future, but he hasn't lived up to the hype He's been healthy throughout his career, but has struggled with penalties. Just last season, Bolles received 17 yellow flags. Additionally, he finished in the top three in penalties all three of his seasons in Denver. The Broncos declined his fifth-year option, likely as motivation. He did shine late last season, and if he brings that play throughout the entire 2020 season, he can earn himself a big contract with Denver or another squad. Just refrain from the holding calls!
1. S Justin Simmons
The Broncos had to make a choice this offseason. Either they keep cornerback Chris Harris Jr., or safety Justin Simmons. Of course, they kept Simmons, albeit on the $11.5 million franchise tag. The young defensive back has all the leverage, simply because he's one of the best at his position. Last season, Simmons allowed just 28 receptions on 53 targets for a measly 288 yards and one score. Additionally, he tallied 93 tackles and four interceptions. If Simmons continues to play at a high level, he'll easily trounce Eddie Jackson of the Chicago Bears as the highest paid safety in the league. The only question that remains is if the Broncos can strike a deal before he hits free agency.