Broncos individual player grades for Week 1 revealed
The Denver Broncos put up a shameful performance against the Oakland Raiders. It was a pitiful outing that saw the Broncos' defense get shredded and the offense struggle to move the ball.
Denver did manage a couple of big plays, but when they got to the red zone, they ended up settling for field goals on three of their four trips. What was displayed on the field was a Broncos team that looked unprepared, lazy and like they were ready to move onto their Week 2 game. It was simply a pitiful display, even from some key veterans.
The Broncos' performance is reflected in these grades. A few players managed to put together a solid game, but only a few of them. During the preseason, I would cover 21 total players, but for the regular season, there will be only 12. Four players with a positive grade, four with a negative grade and four miscellaneous others of note.
This grading system has been honed and adapted for the last five-plus years. Each player starts with a grade of 50, and it will either get raised or lowered based on each snap and the player's impact on the play.
A cornerback on the backside of a run shedding a block will get a slight raise to their grade, but a corner shedding a block in the run path at the point of attack will get a higher raise as they have a bigger impact on the result of the play.
Courtland Sutton, WR: 88.7
What a coming-out game for the second-year wide receiver. He was hard for the Raiders to defend, especially on quick slants. His route running was much improved from a year ago, which helped make him so hard to defend against. Sutton really showed that he can be that No. 1 receiver with what he put on the field.
Josey Jewell, ILB: 81.5
His rookie campaign was solid, but he showed some issues in pass coverage, while looking as a good run defender. It was only one game, but Jewell's play in coverage was great. He was quick and stuck with his assignments very well. What issues he had were a matter of plugging the wrong hole in the running game.
Mike Purcell, DL: 80.1
Who would have guessed that Purcell would be the Broncos best pass rusher? Purcell was quite good out there for the Broncos and kept getting into the backfield and causing disruption. His play wasn’t reflected on the stat sheet, but he did his job and then some.
Dalton Risner, LG: 78.9
The rookie offensive lineman was great out there for the Broncos. He played a mostly clean game, creating running lanes and executing on the second level. There were a couple of issues in pass protection and passing off rushers, but they were very few.
Justin Simmons, FS: 38.7
A lot of the issues we saw from Simmons last year are still there. He overpursues plays to the outside, which takes him out of proper position. Simmons also has some issues when taking a receiver on one-on-one, and tackling. Can these issues be eradicated as Simmons finishes up his contract year?
Ron Leary, RG: 29.9
No one should be shocked that Leary struggled. He missed all of the preseason as he recovered from an injury he suffered last October. Missing that much time is going to create issues, but a lot of his problems were mistakes you’d see from a rookie.
Isaac Yiadom, CB: 29.2
It wasn’t all bad from Yiadom, but outside of a handful of plays, it was bad. The positives came in run defense, but his coverage was a mess. It was easy to shake through routes and struggled to hand in there deep. Yiadom really needs to better learn to track and react to contest the catch point.
Elijah Wilkinson, RT: 24.1
Ja’Waun James wasn’t playing well before he got hurt, but he was playing better than Wilkinson. The game he put out there made it clear that he shouldn’t be at tackle. Wilkinson was slow outside, and couldn’t stop Raiders rushers converting speed to power and driving him back. Multiple pressures and nearly no push in the run game.
Other grades of note
Kareem Jackson, SS/DB: 70. 9
The versatile defensive piece had some huge plays to force a three-and-out for the defense. He came up big when they needed it, but he had a couple plays that stood out in a negative way. One of them saw him get beat quickly and give up a first down. Still, it was a good showing overall from Jackson.
Connor McGovern, C: 69.6
McGovern was the second-best lineman for the Broncos and played a solid game. There were a couple of plays that stood out where he really struggled to get push, but he was facing one of the better interior run defenders in the NFL. In his first season as the full-time center, it was a good start for McGovern.
Adam Gotsis, DE: 58.5
Gotsis was the best looking of the 'big three' linemen, but even that doesn’t mean it was a great game. He had some good run defense plays where he shot through the gap and made the tackle or forced an adjustment. There continues to be a lack of pass rush ability from Gotsis, and this saw him get stonewalled.
DaeSean Hamilton, WR: 52.3
Hamilton had a nice catch off a deflected pass. His routes were good and he was getting decent separation. However, he had a huge drop which really dropped his grade. It was only one play but had such a big impact, obviously, on the play and as the game as a whole. For a guy that has been praised as reliable and with good hands, that was a bad look.