Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware lead four on Broncos' D selected to Pro Bowl


Von Miller, LB, fourth Pro Bowl selection: With 10 sacks, Miller has reached a double-digit sack total for the fourth time in his five years in the league. Miller leads the defense that has spent most of the season at No. 1 in most of the major categories, including total defense, pass defense, sacks and forced fumbles. With DeMarcus Ware having missed five games because of injury, Miller has been double-teamed more this season than at any other time in his career. He now has 24 sacks combined, with two regular-season games left this season, post-ACL surgery. He suffered a torn ACL against the Houston Texans in the 2013 season.

DeMarcus Ware, LB, ninth Pro Bowl selection: Though Ware has missed five games this season with a lower back injury, his peers and the league’s fans still saw enough in his play in the other games to give him the nod. Ware has 6.5 sacks this season, all over the first eight games, including 4.5 in the season’s first four games. The 6.5 sacks are still second on the team as the Broncos are tied for the league lead in sacks -- with the New England Patriots -- at 47.

Chris Harris Jr., CB, second Pro Bowl selection: Harris has put it best about the Broncos' defense -- “Nobody plays more man than we do." -- and Harris fits the mold. The Broncos line him up in the slot, or on the outside, with equal comfort. Harris had what was his toughest game as a pro Sunday when the Steelers’ Antonio Brown finished with 181 yards receiving and two touchdowns with Harris in tow much of the time. Brown’s touchdowns were the first Harris had surrendered in man coverage in two years -- since November of 2013. But Harris has played at an elite level for much of the season and is tied for fourth on the team in tackles with 52; 43 of those solo tackles. Harris has returned one of his two interceptions this season for a touchdown.

Aqib Talib, CB, third Pro Bowl selection: Talib made his third career Pro Bowl and all have come in the past three seasons, two of those since signing with the Broncos in free agency before the 2014 season. Talib was in the conversation for the league’s defensive player of the year in the season’s first half when he returned two of his three interceptions for touchdowns. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak has called Talib’s work “special" this season and has lauded Talib as well as Harris for their day-to-day work ethic. Talib leads the Broncos in passes defensed with 13, and his only significant blemish this season was a one-game suspension for poking Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen in the eye. Talib missed the Broncos’ next game -- the Nov. 15 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.


Brandon Marshall, LB: Marshall leads the league’s No. 1 defense in total tackles (94), solo tackles (71) and tackles for loss (nine). He has also knocked down four passes, forced two fumbles, recorded 1.5 sacks and he intercepted Ben Roethlisberger in the Broncos’ loss this past Sunday. He has gone from consistently dominating practice as a scout-team player -- the team’s offensive players consistently told former coach John Fox the Broncos should promote Marshall to the active roster -- to an every-down player who the team is willing to give any assignment.

Emmanuel Sanders, WR: Sanders is 31 yards away from his second career 1,000-yard season -- he had his first with the Broncos in 2014. The Broncos have nine pass plays of at least 40 yards and Sanders has four of them, including his 61-yard touchdown against the Steelers this past weekend.

Demaryius Thomas, WR: Thomas has had two significant bouts with drops this season, including a five-drop game against the Patriots. So he hasn't reached his highest level, but that said, he’s still worthy of Pro Bowl consideration at one of the most competitive spots in the game. Thomas is one of nine receivers in the league to have topped 1,100 yards after 14 games, and that’s with the Broncos' offense having struggled to find its rhythm for much of the season, with backup quarterback Brock Osweiler having started five games and Peyton Manning having led the league in interceptions when he was behind center. Thomas is one of seven receivers to have topped 90 catches.

Malik Jackson, DE: Jackson plays with an edge and always seems to be in the middle of scrums. But he is also a player who interests personnel executives around the league as he consistently generates pass pressure inside in the Broncos’ three-man defensive line. He's tied for third on the team in sacks with 5.5, has 14 hits on quarterbacks and has knocked down seven passes.

T.J. Ward, S: Ward has missed the past three games with a left ankle injury and opened the season with a one-game suspension for a violation of the league’s conduct policy. But defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has said Ward is an important piece of the team’s defensive puzzle, especially because of his ability to help in coverage and play along the line of scrimmage, much like a linebacker.