Last season, the Denver Broncos pass rush accumulated 36 sacks, which was the lowest number of sacks in a season by the team over the last four years.
The team signed edge rusher Randy Gregory to a five-year contract worth $70 million as he posted six sacks in 12 games with the Dallas Cowboys in 2021. They’re hoping the 29-year-old can rebound after undergoing rotator cuff surgery.
The addition of defensive tackle D.J. Jones while utilizing outside linebacker Bradley Chubb entering a contract year could also provide a spark to their front seven. Malik Reed and second-round pick Nic Bonitto can also be used as rotational pieces.
There is no shortage of options for the Broncos, but one writer thinks the Broncos should target a standout USFL pass-rusher.
Broncos Could Target USFL Sensation
USA Today’s Broncos writer and editor Jon Heath thinks the Broncos’ No. 1. USFL target to sign is EDGE Chris Odom.
“The Broncos have plenty of depth at outside linebacker, but you can never have too many pass rushers,” Heath said. “Odom (6-4, 256 pounds) spent time with four NFL teams, a former AAF team and a CFL team before joining the USFL. He led the league with 12.5 sacks this spring and he deserves another look as a potential rotational pass rusher in the NFL.”
Odom’s team, the Houston Gamblers, finished 3-7 in 2022 and took home last place in the USFL south division. But the former Arkansas State product was the only player to record double-digit sacks in the inaugural 2022 season. His contributions brought home the Defensive Player of the Year honors.
The 27-year-old also performed well in special teams. Odom blocked four field goals and his last blocked field goal was a 77-yard touchdown in a regular-season finale victory.
Odom was first signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and later rejoined the team in 2019 and was released later the same year. The journeyman also spent time with two other NFL franchises, including the Green Bay Packers and Washington. He had a stint in the AAF and also played in the Canadian Football League during the 2021 season as he was a member of the Calgary Stampeders.
Odom has two sacks on his NFL resume, but his recent resurgence in the UFL suggests he can have a third shot in the NFL.
Other USFL Candidates
Heath has four other USFL targets who could contribute for the Broncos in 2022.
According to Heath, linebacker Donald Payne, cornerback Channing Stribling, running back Darius Victor and wide receiver KaVontae Turpin are USFL options for Denver.
Payne, Stribling and Victor have NFL experience. Turpin played in the Fan Controlled Football League, European League of Football and has recently played for the USFL in 2022.
Payne led the USFL in tackles with 117 tackles and posted three interceptions. Heath added that Payne could “potential candidate to provide depth at linebacker and contribute on special teams in Denver.”
Stribling led the USFL in interceptions (7) and racked up an impressive 121 return yards off of those picks. Despite a crowded running back depth chart, Heath thinks adding Victor could give the team a practice squad body. He led the USFL with nine rushing touchdowns and stands at 5-8, 209 pounds).