Broncos have a glaring need for DL in the draft
The Denver Broncos can blame Elvis Dumervil for dropping the ball on his contract reduction, but the bottom-line is the Broncos needed defensive linemen before they released Dumervil. Now that Dumervil is gone, getting himl back to the table is harder, because all of the cap savings from the contract reduction no longer exist with 4.869 million in dead money from his release. That means the Broncos will have to find even more defensive linemen in the draft.
So let’s take a look at who the Broncos’ defensive linemen options in the 2013 NFL draft are regardless of whether Dumervil re-signs or not.
The Broncos with the 28th overall pick are well positioned to pick up a lot of solid defensive linemen that could drop for various reasons.
Bjoern Werner could drop, because he has not stood out at the Combine or any other events. Damontre Moore could drop, because he had a terrible Combine performance.
Both Werner and Moore were top ten talents. That may still be the case come draft day, but groupthink could send them skyrocketing down to the 28th pick. If that happens than the Broncos can laugh all the way to the bank, because regardless if Dumervil re-signed or not. The Broncos need to find a better option.
Dumervil has been solid, but his age at 29 is a little suspect. He’s always been a double-digit sack guy, but never a player people point to and say he’s one of the best.
However Bjoern Werner and Damontre Moore have the talent to be special players, but if Werner or Moore don’t fall, then defensive tackle will be a point of emphasis for the Broncos.
I mention these players, because they would be perfect fits in the 5-techinque. There are a few negatives though with each player.
Hankins can become fatigued, and may need to improve his stamina at the next level. Sylvester Williams has a lot of quickness, but he disappeared at spots in the 2012 season. And Jesse Williams is a great run stuffer, but doesn’t give you any element as a pass rusher.
I believe the Broncos will focus on bringing in Hankins or Sylvester Williams in that order, but they may see something Williams to consider, because he won’t be available to them when they pick in the second round.
That brings us to the defensive linemen available for the Broncos with the 58th pick. The second round has a lot of weakside defensive ends, but I believe the Broncos are happy with Derek Wolfe’s development.
However the 5-technique defensive tackle has a few more prospects. John Jenkins and Brandon Williams are in that range.
Jenkins who played nose tackle in college showed a lot of disruptive ability on film. Jenkins was regularly collapsing the pocket and stuffing runs at the same time at Georgia. That type of ability in the NFL could make everyone else on Denver’s defensive line better, and that increases his value due to his ability he showed on tape.
Brandon Williams is a consistent pass rusher with enough size to play the 5-technique. He performed well at the Senior Bowl and could be on the Broncos radar at the bottom of the second round or even the third round.
And that brings us to the last round possibilities for the Broncos with defensive linemen in the third round with the 90th pick.
Kwame Geathers and Montori Hughes make the most sense if the Broncos bypass the second and third round for a 5-technique. Geathers can be used in a rotation with the skills to be an every down player, and Hughes has the size and speed criteria to be a dominant 5-technique too.
The only defensive end that makes sense with the 90th pick is John Simon. Simon was standout on tape versus his actual numbers on paper. He could be a value pick to eventually be the starter at the strongside defensive end position with time.
After the third round is a lot of 3-technique defensive tackles the Broncos could take a stab at like Chris Jones, Josh Boyd, Joe Vellano, Corey Grissom, A.J. Francis and Darrington Sentimore in the latter rounds, but I’m pretty sure the defensive lineman the Broncos are looking for will be snatched up in the early rounds.
In either case the 2013 NFL draft offers a lot of possibilities for the Denver Broncos to find the final pieces to the Super Bowl puzzle, and I’m confident they’ll find an impact starter in this year’s draft without any problems.
James Cobern is a Featured Journalist for TPF and can be contacted at JCobern@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com.