The Denver Broncos have a loaded roster, but there are still a couple of spots on their depth chart that could use improvement. One of those spots is inside linebacker.
Josey Jewell has proven himself to capable starter on the field. He had 113 combined tackles in 2020. In 2021, he, unfortunately, played only two games after suffering a torn pectoral.
Nevertheless, Jewell played the best football of his career in his limited action. He posted a PFF grade of 83.5. Only two linebackers posted higher PFF grades last season: Micah Parsons and De’Vondre Campbell.
Behind Jewell, there is a clear drop-off, however. Alex Singleton was extremely productive with the Philadelphia Eagles. He led the Eagles in combined tackles in both 2020 (120) and 2021 (137).
Unfortunately, there are some question marks about Singleton’s pass coverage. He had a PFF coverage grade of 39.3 last season, which ranked 73rd out of 80 qualifying linebackers.
Jonas Griffith and Justin Strnad both have potential, but adding another linebacker could be in the cards.
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Analyst: Broncos Should Sign Travin Howard
The Draft Network’s Justin Melo suggested that the Broncos pursue former Los Angeles Rams linebacker Travin Howard.
Howard is a logical fit for the Broncos. He fills a position of need and spent time working with defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero.
“New Broncos Defensive Coordinator Ejiro Evero has spent Howard’s entire four-year career alongside him in Los Angeles,” Melo wrote. “Prior to accepting the Broncos job, Evero worked as the Rams’ safeties coach (2017-20) and secondary coach and passing game coordinator (2021). Evero is extremely familiar with Howard both as a player and person. ”
Melo also cited the Broncos’ decision to not select an inside linebacker in this year’s draft.
The Broncos also didn’t draft a traditional inside linebacker (Nik Bonitto is more of an EDGE defender) in the 2022 NFL Draft. Denver’s current linebacker room leaves something to be desired. Alex Singleton struggles in coverage and Josey Jewell appeared in just two contests last season after suffering a torn pectoral injury in Week 2. The current depth behind Singleton and Jewell is non-existent. Howard would make a great addition in Denver. ”
Broncos: Howard Could Be a Nice Addition
Howard was selected by the Rams in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL draft. After spending his first year on the practice squad, Howard played 102 defensive snaps in 2019. He recorded 22 combined tackles and three passes defended.
He missed the entire 2020 season with a knee injury.
In 2021, he played 101 defensive snaps, and he recorded 21 combined tackles, three passes defended, and an interception.
During the postseason, Howard got an opportunity to play an increased role, and he even started two games. He was impressive throughout the Rams’ postseason run earning a PFF grade of 86.6.
In the NFC championship game, Howard made a huge play, as he came up with an interception with 1:09 remaining in the fourth quarter to seal the victory for the Rams.
Following Cooper Kupp’s contract extension, the Rams surprisingly waived Howard.
At 26 years old, he is just entering his prime, and he played at his highest level in big games. He could be an excellent value pickup for the Broncos.