Denver Broncos All-Decade Team: Defense

The most recent decade for the Denver Broncos has been both kind and unkind to the team. They have seen the highs of five division titles, two Super Bowl appearances, and one Super Bowl win. Contrarily, it’s the time span that the Broncos posted their first back to back losing seasons since the 71′-72′ seasons. In this two-part series, we will look at the Broncos All-Decade Team and the players that truly defined and shaped this team for the past decade.

Denver Broncos All-Decade Team: Offense

Denver Broncos All-Decade Team: The Defense

Defensive End – Derek Wolfe

Since being drafted in 2012 Derek Wolfe has been a mainstay for the defensive front and tone-setter for the defense as a whole. Never the flashiest or the most disruptive defender Denver has had this decade but he has been the most available. Last season was his best seeing him post a career-high seven sacks on the year before going down with an elbow injury. Wolfe got a reputation for not taking any flak from any player no matter their pedigree which helped him keep his spot when a more talented guy came around. After this past off-season he left for the Baltimore Ravens in free agency but he stands as one of Denver’s best defenders.

Defensive End – Elvis Dumervil

Only playing in two seasons during this decade doesn’t keep Elvis Dumervil off the All-Decade team. Undersized and overlooked coming out of college Dumervil made a name for himself getting after quarterbacks. In the two years that he played in this decade he earned two Pro Bowl appearances and managed 20.5 sacks. If not for a fax machine error in 2012 Dumervil very easily could have gone on to be even more dominant than he was already. Pairing him up with Von Miller late in his career would have been a nightmare for the AFC West once Miller caught on.

Defensive Tackle – Terrance Knighton

Just like Elvis Dumervil, Terrance Knighton was only with the Denver Broncos for a short amount of time in this decade but made a huge impact. Spending his first four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars before joining the Broncos during the 2013 off-season. He started all 36 games that he suited up for including the postseason totaling 87 tackles and six sacks. “Pot Roast” was a fan favorite but the team wasn’t as enamored as they let him leave during 2014 free agency.

Outside Linebacker – Von Miller

There is no question that Von Miller is the player that personifies this decade for the Denver Broncos. The second overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft started his reign of terror from day one posting 11.5 sacks as a rookie. Following that season up by posting his career-high of 18.5 sacks in 2012 earning him his first All-Pro nomination. Miller holds three All-Pros and eight Pro Bowl nominations along with the tile of Denver’s franchise sack leader with a total of 106. Miller is the face of this franchise and that is rare for a defensive player to be the first thought when mentioning a team.

Outside Linebacker – Demarcus Ware

The Dallas Cowboys released Demarcus Ware after spending the first nine seasons playing for America’s team. John Elway hopped on the phone as soon as he could and made sure Ware wasn’t going anywhere but Denver. He knew that players of this caliber don’t hit the market often and he had a young Von Miller as the perfect compliment. Once Ware hit the field for the Broncos it was over for opposing quarterbacks hoping to have time to throw. During his three seasons with the Broncos, Ware totaled 21.5 sacks, two Pro Bowls, and was instrumental in developing Miller into the Super Bowl MVP in 2015.

Inside Linebacker – Danny Trevathan

Danny Trevathan was a sixth-round steal for the Denver Broncos in the 2012 draft who ended up becoming a pivotal piece in the middle. Pairing up with fellow All-Decade teammate Brandon Marshall the duo posted a combined 210 tackles in 2015 with Trevathan hauling in two interceptions taking one back for a touchdown. He had two seasons where he posted 100 plus tackles the best being during his sophomore season with 129 tackles. After winning the Super Bowl in 2015 Trevathan looking to get paid ended up leaving for the Chicago Bears.

Inside Linebacker – Brandon Marshall

In six seasons with the Denver Broncos, Brandon Marshall was everything but unreliable for the middle of the defense. Posting three seasons of 100 plus tackles Marshall was always near the top in tackles each year. A solid contributor that never played out of position and seemed to always make the right play. He was injured here and there with the Broncos which ultimately led to his departure from the team in 2018. Marshall signed with the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency but never saw the field after hyping up his return to Denver that season.

Cornerback – Chris Harris Jr

Already on the NFL All-Decade team, Chris Harris Jr is a slam dunk for this list. Harris joins the list of Denver Broncos undrafted greats by holding down the secondary for the “No-Fly Zone”. Earning the nickname “Strap Harris” because he seemed to be strapped to any receiver that he matched up with on Sundays. There wasn’t much that got by Harris in Denver when quarterbacks foolishly decided to test his abilities. He has 518 total tackles, 20 interceptions, and four touchdowns in his time with the Denver Broncos.

Cornerback – Aqib Talib

Aqib Talib makes the All-Decade team over Champ Bailey because the latter had seen his better playing days in the previous decade. Talib ended up making the Pro Bowl each season that he played for the Denver Broncos while adding one first-team All-Pro. Snatching chains off Michael Crabtree wasn’t the only thing he stole as he grabbed 11 interceptions and six went back for touchdowns. You don’t have the “No-Fly Zone” without Talib and Chris Harris Jr creating two black holes for passes to vanish into.

Safety – TJ Ward

TJ Ward made a name for himself with the Denver Broncos as being the enforcer to bring the punishment to players in the No-Fly Zone. He was also able to help out in coverage when needed but playing near the line of scrimmage was his forte. During the Super Bowl, he picked off Cam Newton and also forced a fumble on the way to a championship. Making the Pro Bowl once in Denver was not enough to keep him long term and he signed with the Cleveland Browns in 2017.

Safety – Justin Simmons

Some relatively young blood on this list compared to his peers, Simmons more than makes up youth for plays on the field. Going into his fourth season in 2020, Justin Simmons has proven that he is among the top safeties playing in the NFL right now. Last season he put the NFL on notice by snatching four interceptions and breaking up 15 passes. He barely edges out Darian Stewart on this list because of his on-field production and higher overall ceiling.

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