Dec 22, 2019; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) on the bench in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos’ Fangio not counting out Miller for season – yet

The devastating ankle injury sustained by Denver Broncos star pass rusher Von Miller leaves little room for optimism, however coach Vic Fangio said the team isn’t ready to count him out for the season.

“There’s a chance (that he misses the 2020 season). It’s too early to say for sure. He’s definitely out for a while,” Fangio said Wednesday.

Miller is seeking a second opinion from noted foot/ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson on Thursday in Green Bay, Wis. Miller likely will need surgery, which Fangio said would happen “sooner rather than later” should the second opinion agree with the initial diagnosis.

“It was a normal play,” Fangio said of when Miller was injured during Tuesday’s practice. “He just rushed around the edge and never hit the ground and never looked bad. If you saw the video, you’d think nothing happened, but it did.”

Broncos quarterback Drew Lock said the team was devastated by Miller’s injury.

“Without a doubt, it’s a punch in the gut for everybody just knowing how good of a teammate he is and how good of a leader he is for this team,” Lock said. “Personally, for him, I talked to him a lot in the offseason. He was gunning, he was ready to go. He was extremely excited. It was a new focus from Von.

“I think when you almost hit double digits (in seasons), it becomes real life for you, and he was excited. It hurts our team and our spirits with just how much we cared for the guy. Life goes on. He’s going to work to get back on the field as fast as possible and we have to work to win games.”

Miller, 31, has a base salary of $17.5 million this season, the fifth of a six-year, $114 million deal he signed in July of 2016.

The eight-time Pro Bowler and former Super Bowl MVP has a franchise-record 106 sacks for the Broncos in nine seasons since being the No. 2 overall choice of the 2011 NFL Draft. Miller also has 490 tackles, 26 forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

Miller has two career touchdowns — one on an interception and one on a fumble.

Last season, Miller had eight sacks. That total was the second lowest of his career. His high was 18.5 in 2012.

The Broncos open the season on Monday night against the visiting Tennessee Titans.

–Field Level Media

2019 NFL Draft Preview – QB

Despite the weight of a uniquely never-ending draft grind, there’s something poetic about the start of a new collegiate cycle that attracts a total spectrum of fans, from the educated onlookers to the full-blown draft degenerates (such as myself).
As such, we proceed with a detailed evaluation of my introductory positional rankings – coming out one group at a time, beginning with quarterbacks.
So, to (inaccurately) quote the great Matthew McConaughey: “I’ll write, I’ll write, I’ll write.”
 
QUARTERBACK
Overview:
Five teams selected a first-round passer in the 2018 class and my suspicion is that it was a partial indictment of the potential 2019 crop. Presently, we’re faced with a quarterback class asking numerous questions of evaluators – who only seem to agree about being unable to distinguish who will emerge on top.
Simply put, there are a handful of quarterbacks with the potential to rise above the class, but most require a step-forward season in 2019 in order for that to happen. This year’s preseason quarterback evaluation requires more projection than most years I’ve studied the NFL Draft, which personally elicits equal levels of excitement and indignation.
1. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn (6’3″ 215lbs.)
• Will be hit with the ‘system’ tag, but he completes a high degree of attempts and rapidly immersed himself in Gus Malzahn’s intricate passing offense. I don’t see a quarterback with better ‘feel’ for his position in this class right now.
2. Justin Herbert, Oregon (6’6″ 225lbs.)
• Possesses all of the tantalizing physical traits evaluators want in a franchise passer: size, arm and athleticism. Also boasts a smooth delivery and statistical accuracy. If he takes the next step this season it’ll be tough to value another passer more.
3. Will Grier, West Virginia (6’2″ 214lbs.)
• The ex-Florida Gator was highly prolific throughout his first season in Morgantown, forming a good connection with stud receiver David Sills. Everything’s on a rope; makes NFL-esque window throws, but needs to learn that not every pass needs to be a bullet.
4. Drew Lock, Missouri (6’4″ 225lbs.)
• Ticks all of the prototype passer boxes, possessing ideal size, arm talent and an ever-present inclination to push the ball downfield. Must overcome issues relating to accuracy (both in-game and statistical), but did suffer from receiver drops last year.
5. Brian Lewerke, Michigan State (6’3″ 215lbs.)
• Underclassmen who must drastically improve accuracy, but showed plenty of promise in his ten-win Sophomore campaign. Moves through reads in rapid-fire. Will take a hit to deliver an accurate pass. Nice pocket footwork, but liable to hurt a defense with them too.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Finley, North Carolina State (6’4″ 210lbs.)
• Boise State transfer with prolific aerial numbers. Major positive is his compact, lightning-quick release and decisive style – always aware of quick-read options and fall-back outlets. Has many physical tools at his disposal. Downfield ball placement is inconsistent.
 
Find me on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate