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Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller #58 addresses the media at Dove Valley July 26, 2017. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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Are this year’s Broncos the most talented in Denver since Super Bowl 50?

(Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

During his weekly meeting with the local media, Von Miller dropped a bit of a surprising nugget. The Broncos linebacker was asked about recent losses to the Chiefs and he offered an answer that went well beyond Thursday night’s opponent.

“I don’t think we’ve beat them since, what was it, 2015? So, we’ve just got to keep chipping away at it,” Miller said. “We’ve got a great team. I feel like this is the best team that we’re able to field in that time span, so I’m excited to play these guys.”

A great team? The best one he’s played on since winning MVP in Super Bowl 50?

On the surface, that seems like a bit of a stretch. After all, the 2019 edition of the Broncos started 0-4, the first time that’s happened in 20 years. But further analysis suggests Miller might have a point.

The 2017 and 2018 teams can be excluded from the conversation, as they went 5-11 and 6-10, respectively. So in reality, the only team that could potentially be better than this year’s squad is the one that tried to defend their Super Bowl title.

How do the 2019 Broncos stack up against the 2016 team? Here’s a position-by-position comparison:

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OFFENSE

Quarterback – Trevor Siemian (2016) | Joe Flacco (2019)

Flacco has his detractors, but it’d be difficult to find anyone that doesn’t believe the former Super Bowl MVP is a better option than a guy who had taken one NFL snap in his career prior to the season opener.

Advantage: 2019

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Running Backs – C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker (2016) | Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman (2019)

Lindsay is on pace for back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, while Freeman could push that plateau too. They’re a much more dynamic duo than Anderson and Booker, by a large margin.

Advantage: 2019

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Wide Receivers – Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders (2016) | Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders (2019)

Sutton is a star in the making, but DT is a future Ring of Fame inductee. And despite the fact that he’s still a playmaker, Sanders was a better player three years ago than he is today.

Advantage: 2016

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Tight End – Virgil Green (2016) | Noah Fant (2019)

Green was constantly touted for his blocking ability, which is code for the fact that he was a largely ineffective receiving option. Fant is still struggling a bit as a rookie, but he wins this battle.

Advantage: 2019

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Left Tackle – Russell Okung (2016) | Garett Bolles (2019)

Bolles is one of the most-maligned professional athletes in Denver sports history, but he’s still a better player than Okung was during his lost season in Denver. This is the lesser of two evils.

Advantage: 2019

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Left Guard – Max Garcia (2016) | Dalton Risner (2019)

Despite the fact that he’s only played six games in his NFL career, Risner looks like he’s going to be a fixture in the Mile High City for a decade. This is one of the easiest decisions on the board.

Advantage: 2019

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Center – Matt Paradis (2016) | Connor McGovern (2019)

McGovern continues to struggle with the basics, as his shotgun snaps seem to have a mind of their own at times. Meanwhile, Paradis was the epitome of steady and reliable in the middle of the offensive line.

Advantage: 2016

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Right Guard – Michael Schofield (2016) | Ron Leary (2019)

As much grief as Bolles gets for his penalties, Leary has been just as much of a flag magnet this season. Schofield wasn’t great, but he wasn’t the liability that Leary is at this point in his career.

Advantage: 2016

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Right Tackle – Donald Stephenson (2016) | Ja’Wuan James (2019)

James has played 10 snaps as a Bronco, having been injured in the season opener. Despite that fact, he’s still a better option than Stephenson, who was a turnstile at right tackle throughout the season.

Advantage: 2019

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DEFENSE

Defensive Ends – Derek Wolfe (2016) | Derek Wolfe (2019)

Three years ago, Wolfe was a better player than he is today. It’s not by a wide margin, but it’s the reality.

Advantage: 2016

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Nose Tackle – Sylvester Williams (2016) | Mike Purcell (2019)

Williams was a first-round pick, while Purcell was picked up off the scrap heap. That said, Purcell seems to be every bit the player that another one of Elway’s draft busts was during his time in Denver.

Advantage: 2019

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Defensive Ends – Jared Crick (2016) | Shelby Harris (2019)

Name a memorable play that Crick made in a Broncos uniform. While the crickets chirp, the memory of Harris picking off Ben Roethlisberger in the end zone last season pop to mind. One guy makes plays, while the other one didn’t.

Advantage: 2019

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Outside Linebackers – Von Miller and Demarcus Ware (2016) | Von Miller and Malik Reed (2019)

Miller was coming off of winning MVP honors in Super Bowl 50, meaning he was at his peak. Ware was an aging vet, but his experience still made him better than a rookie who is learning the ropes in the NFL.

Advantage: 2016

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Inside Linebackers – Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis (2016) | Alexander Johnson and Todd Davis (2019)

It’s tempting to give Johnson the edge over Marshall based on how well he’s played the past two weeks, but that would be premature. One guy has a Super Bowl ring, while the other has two career starts. Davis this season is about the same as Davis in 2016.

Advantage: 2016

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Cornerbacks – Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. (2016) | Davontae Harris and Chris Harris Jr. (2019)

This is a runaway, given that the Broncos are having to play a cornerback cut earlier this season by the Bengals because Bryce Callahan can’t get healthy. Talib was a great player, while a younger Harris Jr. was also better.

Advantage: 2016

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Safeties – Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward (2016) | Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson (2019)

This is closer than most would think, as Simmons is a rising star and Jackson is a big-time player. But Stewart and Ward were part of the a great secondary. The “No Fly Zone” membership gives them the nod.

Advantage: 2016

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2016 TOTAL = 13
2019 TOTAL = 9

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It’s not a lopsided victory, as several of the positional battles were close. But a team that was coming off a hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, even with some major departures in Peyton Manning, Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan, gets the edge.

Von Miller’s point about the talent level on the 2019 team wasn’t terribly off base, but it wasn’t 100 percent accurate.

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