Predicting Which Broncos Pass Rushers Reach Double-Digit Sacks in 2024

The Denver Broncos may not have any proven double-digit sack artists but there are some good candidates for 2024.
Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Viking quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) is sacked by Denver Broncos linebacker Jonathon Cooper (0) and defensive end Zach Allen (99) in the first half at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Viking quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) is sacked by Denver Broncos linebacker Jonathon Cooper (0) and defensive end Zach Allen (99) in the first half at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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The Denver Broncos' most recent successes have been intertwined with a formidable pass rush, a legacy forged by Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, and Elvis Dumervil, just to name a few. While the Broncos' current roster may not feature the same star power, it does feature a pass-rush-by-committee.

If this collective can find its rhythm and leverage each other's strengths, we could witness two to three Broncos surpass the double-digit sack benchmark. In this analysis, I will explore who has the best chance to carry on the double-digit tradition.

Zach Allen | DE

Denver Broncos defensive end Zach Allen pursues Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) looks downfield as he is pressured by Denver Broncos defensive end Zach Allen (99). Allen threw for 177 yards and a touchdown. HE also ran for a touchdown but the Bills lost to the Denver 24-22. / Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and

When the Broncos signed Allen to a lucrative three-year, $45 million contract, they were aiming for a disruptive force on the field. He has shown promise but looks to continue to improve in Vance Joseph's system.

In his first year as a Bronco, Allen managed to tally seven sacks, 27 tackles, and one forced fumble — more than respectable numbers, but not as game-changing as perhaps the team had hoped. Look for the addition of John Franklin-Myers up front to help Allen seize opportunities when presented with favorable matchups and help add to his sack total.

Floor: 4 sacks | Ceiling: 9 sacks

Baron Browning | OLB

Denver Broncos rush linebacker lays a hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
Nov 26, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (17) is hit by Denver Broncos linebacker Baron Browning (56) in the third quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Browning is the most captivating prospect on this list, with the highest potential and the most significant risk due to his struggle to maintain consistent health. His journey last season was marked by a stint on the injured reserve, causing him to miss the season's first six weeks.

Despite this setback, Browning finished the season with a commendable five sacks, hinting at his potential to record 12-plus sacks if he can maintain his presence on the field. With 2024 being a contract year for him, Browning finds himself in a make-or-break situation.

Anticipate Browning to perform well. His productivity will determine the number of zeros on the new deal he hopes to garner next offseason.

Floor: 5 sacks | Ceiling: 14 sacks

Nik Bonitto | OLB

Denver Broncos rush linebacker sacks Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields.
Oct 1, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) is sacked for a loss by Denver Broncos linebacker Nik Bonitto (42) in the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Bonitto is coming off a very productive 2023 season and has started to live up to GM George Paton's expectations. According to Pro Football Focus' metrics, Bonitto recorded nine sacks last season, which included a back-to-back two-sack performance.

The NFL credited Bonitto with eight sacks, and he also tallied 26 hurries and 47 total pressures last season. He uses his exceptional bend and burst to get around tackles to punish the unsuspecting quarterback.

Bonitto also possesses the athleticism to QB spy the league's more athletic quarterbacks. Look for him to increase his playing time, especially with Drew Sanders' unfortunate injury, and continue to grow into a problem coming off the edge.

Floor: 4 sacks | Ceiling: 11 sacks

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Jonathon Cooper | OLB

Denver Broncos rush linebacker Jonathon Cooper sacks San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold.
August 19, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) is tackled by Denver Broncos linebacker Jonathon Cooper (0) during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, Cooper flew under the radar with a sneaky good season, finishing as the team leader in sacks with 8.5, narrowly edging out Bonitto for the title. Cooper started the season hot, with a sack in three straight games.

Later, he would have a stretch where he recorded four sacks in five games. If Cooper continues progressing, he is a candidate to eclipse that double-digit mark.

Floor: 4.5 sacks | Ceiling: 9 sacks

The Field

John Franklin Myers | DL

New York Jets defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers sacks Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O-Connell.
Nov 12, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O'Connell (4) comes under pressure from New York Jets defensive end John Franklin-Myers (91) during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Franklin-Myers is the team's most intriguing offseason addition. He came relatively cheap, costing the Broncos only a sixth-round pick.

Sean Payton was pleased with the addition and spoke highly of Franklin-Myers when asked about it during OTAs, complimenting the veteran's consistent numbers, pressure stats, and durability, as he hasn't missed a game in three years. Look for Denver to move up the pass-rush ranking if JFM can keep that consistency going.

Floor: 4 sacks | Ceiling: 7 sacks

Jonah Elliss | OLB | Rookie

Denver Broncos rookie linebacker Jonah Elliss.
Denver Broncos rookie linebacker Jonah Elliss. / Ben Swanson/Denver Broncos

The Broncos drafted Elliss with the 76th overall pick (third round). In his final season in at Utah, he recorded 16 tackles for loss and 12 sacks in 10 games.

Elliss possesses a quality spin move but needs to add some size and strength. He has plenty of time to do this, as he will only be 21 entering the season.

As for his outlook this season, Elliss will be more of a situational pass rusher, but if history has taught us anything, injuries happen, players underperform, and he must stay ready to capitalize.

Floor: 2 sacks | Ceiling: 4.5 sacks

The Takeaway

According to PFF, the Broncos finished last year ranked a lowly 23rd in the league in pass rush, and that's going to take a lot of work if the team wants to play meaningful games late in the season. Players will need to play up to their potential and exceed it, as they did during a three-game stretch last season, in which they recorded 13 sacks and ranked first during that stretch.

The Broncos can return that suffocating pass rush especially if the Franklin-Myers addition can help bolster the line, and Browning can stay healthy. I'm looking for Browning to assert his dominance as the alpha pass rusher in his contract year.

Expect him to meet the double-digit benchmark and blow right past it. If my predictions can come to fruition, Denver will have to make some tough decisions in the offseason to be able to afford the talented edge rusher.

Lock for double digits: Browning (if he stays healthy)

Good chance: Allen, Bonitto

Dark Horse: Cooper, Franklin-Myers

Long Shot: Ellis

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Kenneth Booker


Kenneth Booker is a staff writer for Mile High Huddle covering the Denver Broncos.