First, let's start with a few reasonable assumptions.
- It's far to early to know who will get drafted when in the 2009 class.
- We can never know for sure who Denver will draft.
- Our current DTs may step up at some point this season.
All that being said, I would like for us to explore what is out there. The difference between Denver being average and terrific is only one or two players away in my opinion. The DT is the foundation of the defense, protecting LBs so they can do the LBs' job, and occupying the center so the DEs can pass rush.
Let's see what the possibilities are. Read on....
Let me disclose some of the bias that I have for the DT position for next year. First, I want our next DT to be a big run stuffer. Some may think that this hinders the pass rush, but this simply isn't true.
Only in Madden Football does one have to choose between a run stuffer and a pass rusher. In real football, there are advantages and disadvantages either way. For example, smaller but quicker DTs play a one gap style to stop the run, and use agility to get to the backfield. Bigger (albeit slower) DTs are able to handle two gaps to stuff runs, but contribute greatly to the pass rush by occupying several offensive linemen. One is not better than the other. But in certain situations (like the one Denver inds itself in), I think we need more of the big dogs to come out to play.
What ails Denver at DT (in my opinion) is an inability to consistently stop the opposition running game, and an inability to support the pass rush. That is the first bias I bring to the table. I want big DTs and I want them strong.
My second bias is that I want character guys, and don't want to take too many chances on injury histories. Denver is on the right track with avoiding character problems, but they like to take risks with injuries. This probably skews my analysis as well.
Any way, here's a quick look at some players, and what I think.
Is projected to be a top twenty pick. Was arrested, and this knocks him out of contention for Denver if we are focused on avoiding "Henry", "Walker", and "Rice" like problems.
I love that they guy can bench over 525, and I like his speed. He'll be terrific for some team out there, but I doubt we get him. First, he isn't the big guy that we want. Second, he'll be off the board before we would get him.
Under suspension for shoplifting.
Now this is the kind of guy I'm talking about! Could go late first round, top of the second. 6-6, 310 pounds. The cool part? His body fat is very low. That's muscle and size baby! A run stuffer if there ever was one.
Excellent, fast DT that can play at DE and STs and has blocked two FGs. The problem is that he doesn't fit our needs.
A good combination of size and speed, and a good potential for Denver. 6-0, 317 is big enough to stuff the middle, but a 5.11 is pretty good for that kind of size.
A good combo of run stopping and speed to the QB, but not as much run stuffing as I would like.
Late 2nd, early 3rd. 6-5, 314 lbs. Depending on how he does this year, could jump up the charts. Was overshadowed a bit by Glenn Dorsey. Keep an eye on him.
Jerry Ole Miss
6-2, 305 lbs, and can run under 5! Might have potential.
Solid player, but not a dominator.
6-1, 325. A terrific run stuffer, but questions with academic eligibility. Needs to have his head screwed on straight. A dominator if he overcomes his classroom issues.
This kid looks awesome. Late third, early fourth, but a giant who works his butt off at everything he does. Wants to learn, 6-4 and 315 lbs. A steal if you ask me!
Very well rounded, and an excellent pick-up for a team that can afford a good all around player. Just not the giant dominator that we need.
Durable, and can start every game. Not the big giant in the middle I'm looking for.
Again, a speey guy with talent, but not a 2 gapper.
Taking over for Raji, who has the academic problems we discussed. But heck, this guy is a giant 2 gapper too! 6-3, 330 lbs, All ACC honorable mention, and in seven games had 7.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks. What, are they recruiting giants at BC?
At this point, I'm going to quickly go over the guys projected to be 5th round and later worth considering.
Big, fast, great numbers. I'm confused as to why he isn't projected to go higher.
Ok, has a knee injury in his history. But migt be worth a late round gamble. A beast in the center of the line, weighs 328; 6-3.
I've said before that I'm not a scout, and I'll leave the real MHR scouting to the guys who follow the college game more than I do. But in reading WalterFootball.com (courtesy of a link provided by Colinski), I got a feel for what I would look for as a coach. Most years I would like to look at one and two gappers on equal terms. But wih the type of players we are fielding at LB and DE, as well as the types and depth we have at DT, I would prefer we stock up on the 2 gap, big run stuffer type. I believe this would improve the play at LB greatly, allow our DEs to get the rush, and (by extension) help our CBs to pick off more passes.
What do you guys think?