Broncos LB Alex Singleton Facing a Make-or-Break 2024 Season

The Denver Broncos need to see significant improvements from their veteran tackling machine.
Dec 31, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Alex Singleton (49) reacts after a play in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 31, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Alex Singleton (49) reacts after a play in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

When the Denver Broncos signed Alex Singleton in the 2022 offseason, they were confident in his ability to compete on defense and play special teams. After a strong 2022 campaign, the Broncos rewarded Singleton's play with a three-year contract extension worth $18 million.

Singleton has been a solid linebacker for the Broncos, and his contract fairly reflects his performance. The Broncos' confidence in him is evident, and it's clear they see his potential to become a great linebacker. 

While Singleton has a knack for racking up tackles, his high number of missed tackles is a point of concern. Among all defenders who took a snap, he led the NFL in missed tackles.

However, due to his high snap count, Singleton's missed-tackle percentage was relatively lower. Out of 505 defenders with at least 300 snap counts, he ranked 212th in missed-tackle percentage.

When narrowing it down to only linebackers, Singleton ranked 20th out of 83. This highlights the significant impact of the missed tackles on his overall performance. 

On the other hand, Singleton made the fourth-most tackles and was ranked second in assists. He has shown the ability to be a great tackler, but reducing his misses can greatly improve his overall reliability.

When Singleton meets a ball carrier in space, he will most likely make the tackle, but those times he doesn’t are concerning. They've frequently led to bigger plays by the opposing offense, which is why missed tackles are such an issue with Singleton, and their impact on the Broncos' defensive performance cannot be overstated, despite the high number of tackles he does tally. 

What happens next on the Broncos beat? Don't miss out on any news and analysis! Take a second, sign up for our free newsletter, and get breaking Broncos news delivered to your inbox daily!

Another area of improvement for Singleton to be reliable is in coverage. He's a great run defender, works exceptionally well between the tackles, and does well sideline to sideline, but dropping into coverage is where the biggest issue with his play arises.

Based on Pro Football Focus' coverage grades, Singleton had the fifth-worst grade among 60 linebackers with at least 300 coverage snaps. He allowed the most receptions and 13th-highest reception percentage while allowing the fifth-highest passer rating when targeted, the second-lowest snaps per reception, the lowest snaps per target, and the most touchdowns. 

The NFL is a passing league, and while Singleton's run defense is a boost and should only improve in 2024 with a bolstered defensive line, the need for reliability in coverage is paramount. In 2023, the Broncos' defense was the second-worst when covering tight ends, the first time the unit finished in the bottom half of the NFL in over 10 years, despite fan perception. While it isn’t all on Singleton, as the safeties, Josey Jewell, and the scheme all contributed, much of it falls on him. 

When you break it down to percentages, over 30% of the yards and receptions the Broncos relinquished last year were on Singelton, with no other individual player on defense over 15%. If Singleton has to play in space, his game has many issues, not only in coverage.

That's another concern. While Jewell wasn’t great there either, he was better than Singleton, and the Broncos have lost that. The team's attempt to replace Jewell with Cody Barton doesn’t look good on paper, which could create an even bigger issue with the defense unless Barton or Singleton dramatically improves in space. 

Bottom Line

The Broncos' defense can’t be as bad against the run or in covering tight ends in 2024 and see success. The defense can’t bet on another historic takeaway run like they got over Denver's six-game winning streak in 2023.

To get that improvement, the Broncos need Singleton to prove more reliable, both against the run and in coverage. If it doesn't happen, then after the season, it may be time for the Broncos to either move on from Singleton or make further additions to account for these liabilities.

Follow Mile High Huddle on X and Facebook and subscribe on YouTube for daily Broncos live-stream podcasts!

Erick Trickel


Erick Trickel is the Senior Draft Analyst for Mile High Huddle, has covered the Denver Broncos, NFL, and NFL Draft for the site since 2014.