EDITOR’S NOTE — 850 KOA’s Mike Rice checks in with his thoughts on the defensive line and tight end prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft. DenverBroncos.com previewed some of the players available at those positions. Click here for the defensive line preview and click here for the wide receiver preview.
We are getting closer to the draft. I love it.
What will the Broncos do? Will they trade out of the first round? Will they stay put or even try to move up?
The closer we get, the more excited I get.
My colleagues at DenverBroncos.com continue to do an excellent job previewing some of the top players at each position and I encourage you to check out those draft previews if you haven’t done so already.
Like many people, I really thought the Broncos would draft a defensive lineman last year. I think the same thing in 2012. It gets interesting when one thinks about when the Broncos might address this position.
When I first began thinking about the draft several weeks ago, my first inclination was to think the Broncos will draft a defensive lineman in the first round. After all, it is still a position of need and there seems to be a good crop available.
Now, however, I’m not so sure this is the direction they’ll go. I am in favor of the Broncos shoring up the front seven with their first round pick. I love the idea that they would continue to draft defense high.
At the same time, the Broncos do not have to be desperate to draft a defensive lineman.
The Broncos recently signed Justin Bannan. They should have Ty Warren ad Kevin Vickerson back from injury. Robert Ayers, Jason Hunter and Mitch Unrein are back in the fold and Elvis Dumervil is a force.
Right now, the Broncos have a solid core of defensive linemen. Could they stand to draft another one or two? Absolutely. But I do not think they have to pick one in the first round.
The defensive tackle and defensive end positions seem to be deeper than normal this year. For instance, CBSSports.com has nine defensive tackles ranked in their top 100 overall list of draft prospects and 10 defensive ends in the top 100. Again, draft rankings are inexact to say the least, but still, that’s almost 20 percent of that site’s top 100 players being defensive linemen.
BOTTOM LINE: I believe the Broncos will draft at least one defensive lineman and I think they’ll likely focus on defensive tackle. I’m not sure, though, that their first selection will be a defensive lineman, unless they trade out of the first round.
The Broncos have a solid nucleus in place. Demaryius Thomas has the ability and size to be a legitimate No. 1 receiver. Eric Decker is really talented. They signed free agents Andre Caldwell and Jason Hill, who both have experience and upside. Matthew Willis could figure into the mix again.
The Broncos have talent at the position. They also have a quarterback who will make the receivers better. Peyton Manning does that. That doesn’t mean the Broncos should simply ignore the position. It does, however, mean they don’t need to reach for a wide receiver in the upper rounds.
I believe the Broncos will try to improve the receiving corps by utilizing the tight end more in the offense. They made a couple of moves that point in that direction when they signed Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme, both of whom pose a threat as receivers. Simply by signing those two guys, the Broncos improved their receiving corps.
BOTTOM LINE: If there is one position the Broncos will de-emphasize, it is wide receiver. If they take one, I look for it to be in the middle rounds at highest.
What would you like to see the Broncos do at defensive line and wide receiver in the upcoming draft? Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.