The draft is nearly upon us. We wrap up our draft preview series with a look at two last position groups.
Undoubtedly, this is the position of greatest need for the Broncos. To say they have been lacking up front defensively is a colossal understatement. I know it may come as a news flash but when a team gives up 471 points (29.4 points per game, most in the NFL) and 154.6 yards rushing per game (second-to-last in the NFL), there are issues.
So the Broncos need a trip to the farm to get some beef. But not just any kind of beef. They need Grade A prime. They need to make the late Clara Peller proud if she were still able to be so.
They need more than one defensive lineman who can come in and contribute. It is that simple.
Let’s face it; the Broncos haven’t exactly had much success drafting defensive linemen. Jarvis Moss, Tim Crowder, Carlton Powell, Nick Eason, Bryant McNeal, Aaron Hunt, Clint Mitchell, Dorsett Davis, Monsanto Pope and Paul Toviessi all came and went…rather quickly, too.
Go back a few more years and the names Dan Williams and Ted Gregory are forever etched in Broncos lore as first-round busts. I’ll stop there.
Going back to 1997 when the Broncos selected Trevor Pryce with the 28th overall pick, the Broncos have drafted one really good defensive lineman: Elvis Dumervil in 2006. And they eventually moved him to linebacker. But I digress.
They have drafted three others who ended up being in the average-to-pretty-good range. Those would be Monte Reagor (1999), Reggie Hayward (2001) and Marcus Thomas (2007). Thomas is hanging in this group by the skin of his chinny chin chin.
The Broncos’ inability to draft quality defensive lineman is borderline staggering. Let’s hope the trend changes this year. If it doesn’t, we could be talking about Andrew Luck wearing orange and blue in 2012.
BOTTOM LINE: If the Broncos keep the second overall pick, they should select a defensive lineman. If they trade the second selection, they should still draft a defensive lineman extremely high. The Broncos need to come out of this draft with two defensive linemen who can make an immediate impact. That’s tough to do but it is where they are right now.
I wish the Broncos’ needs were few enough to where they could think about investing a draft pick on a specialist. But that is not the case.
They don’t need a placekicker. Matt Prater has been really good. Punter? Britton Colquitt is fine and if they really needed a punter, the Broncos would not need to spend a draft pick on one.
One can make a case for a good return man. The Broncos have had trouble finding those over the years. With Eddie Royal’s injury, the return game certainly has some questions. Again, though, the Broncos can’t afford to use a draft pick on a guy they project solely to be a returner.
BOTTOM LINE: No way the Broncos use a draft pick on any of these positions. If they draft a return man, it’s only because he can return kicks in addition to being great at his position.
Feel free to offer your thoughts on defensive line and specialists. Many of you already have and that is terrific. Thanks for the ongoing discussion. It won’t be long before we can talk about the moves the Broncos may have made and the players they actually drafted.
Thanks for reading,