This is the eighth part in a 12-part preview of the 2017 season, a position-by-position analysis of the Denver Broncos.
Position: Nose tackle
Arrivals: Peko, Jarrett
Departures: Sylvester Williams
2016 starter(s): Williams
2017 starter(s): Peko
Projected cuts: Jarrett
Salary cap allocation (top five): Peko ($3.3 million cap number); Peko ($540,000); Jarrett ($468,333)
What’s to like about the group: There’s been addition by subtraction, with Williams having left to join the Tennessee Titans. A solid force in 2015, Sly was ineffectual last season, grading out as the No. 87 interior defender out of 126 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. Williams was a big reason for Denver’s run defense falling to 28th in the NFL, as offensive lines simply blew him back off the line of scrimmage. Peko, signed as his direct replacement, is a little more reliable; at 6-foot-3, 325 pounds, he fits the mold for the Broncos’ defensive line.
What’s not to like about the group: According to PFF, Peko (No. 97) actually graded out worse than Williams in 2016. So there’s that. His backup and cousin, Kyle, is a relative unknown with little experience. Jarrett was signed as undrafted free agent. This is perhaps the most questionable area of Denver’s otherworldly defense. If Domata slips in his age-32 campaign, the Broncos’ play against the run could continue to suffer.
Recap: The Broncos will go only as far as the Pekos take them, at least at this particular position.
For more Broncos news, follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @Kelberman247
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