Denver's climb starts with D

Peyton claims headlines, but defense may be NFL's most-improved unit

Originally Published: November 16, 2012
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
Miller Justin Edmonds/Getty ImagesVon Miller may be the NFL's best defensive player this season.

With Peyton Manning running the show now, the Denver Broncos' offense gets most of the attention and publicity -- and that is certainly fair -- but if you focus on only one side of the ball, you're going to miss a key part of Denver's resurgence. What I found when I broke down Denver's defense was really surprising. This may be the most improved unit in the NFL from a year ago.

What strikes you on film is how fast the Broncos' defense plays, how the players can mix and match their pressures and schemes, how fundamentally sound they are ... and most surprising is how much depth the Broncos have and how many players are making contributions.

Let's look at them on all three levels and get to know this defense a little better.

Defensive line

The Broncos have made a nice transition under coordinator Jack Del Rio from a 3-4 to a 4-3 front and they are playing it much better than most people expected.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.