Something that the Denver Broncos are facing right now is which of our needs is the greatest? Our horrible Run Defense last year begs a Defensive Tackle, Matt Lepsis' Retirement, asks for an Offensive Tackle, B-Marsh's injury, Walker's defection to the raiders and Rod Smith's "Retirement" demand a Wide Receiver, Signing Boss and K2 are looked at as great but leave us with a Linebacker corps who are all roughly the same age and what are seen as stop gap solutions at Safety mean a little attention there may be required as well. I know I did something similar to this last week but this time I am going to focus more on those five areas. It seems that they are the five we focus most on in our diaries and comments. I want to break down who we have as well as the draft potential at each position. Without further ado......
With Bob Slowik taking over, you can bet his first thought is to keep his job. How does he do that? Keep Coach Mike happy! How do you keep Mike happy? Give the offense back the ball as soon as possible with out yielding points. In theory this can't be done because the other team has talent to score at least once. That being said, I'm sure Coach wouldn't mind the score of all games 28-7 with Denver having about 45 minuets of possession on the ball. Defensive Tackles is a position in which pressure ing the Quarterback and stamping the run out of the middle. For a great breakdown on defensive gap assignments and what the jargon means check out HoosierTeacher's class on Defensive line. http://www.milehighreport.com/story/2008/3/2/3506/95671 With that I present the dilemma that is out Defensive Tackles:
~Marcus Thomas is young and dumb, but he can make an impact if given the chance.
~Alvin McKinnley is at best a rotational player and at normal a big fat guy who doesn't commit to anything but knocking a guy over.
~Mallard is unproven despite 4 years in the league.
~Peterson is unproven despite 6yrs in the league.
Those four are probably the ones that will roll out of camp on our line right now.
Marcus Thomas needs to spend more time in camp and less time in friends' cars. He has great potential and could very well be an elite defensive tackle in the next few years. He needs another player to compliment /push him in the rotation.
Alvin McKinnley makes me nervous on so many levels. He is a good rotational player but he lacks the work ethic to be a committed starter. Why is this a problem? Alvin currently IS our second starter in our base 4-3 defense. He could have a change up this season but I doubt it.
Mallard and Peterson get grouped together for me, because neither has stats to sepeak of despite their 4 and 6 year stints respectively in the NFL. Maybe they were signed to our squad because of Practice Squad performances seen by Coach and Co. Still not seeing more than depth with these guys or their potential.
Time to move on to the Draft:
After seeing Glenn Dorsey work out for a change, the perception has changed a bit in Dorsey's favor. He'll likely be chosen in the top five, but he's not a top-two candidate like he was prior to the combine. He will not be drafted or even targeted by the Broncos in my opinion because he is more of a NT than a 4-3 Tackle. It would be like Dwayne Robertson in New York and square peg in a round hole. Therefore this is all I write on him.
Sedrick Ellis rebounded from a horrendous combine to run a 5.05 and bench 36 reps at his Pro Day. It was shocking that Sedrick Ellis didn't follow up his incredible Senior Bowl with a stellar combine. Ellis was a man amongst boys at the Senior Bowl, effortlessly pushing the opposing offensive line around as if they were small children. Ellis was simply an unstoppable force. It wouldn't surprise me if the Dolphins or Rams took him first or second. That being said with the other candidates out there he could drop with trades and other needs and maybe get as low as #15. A very quick defensive tackle who loves getting to the quarterback, he had 4.5 sacks in each of the previous two seasons.
His bench numbers showed what he's best at - mauling opposing offensive linemen. I am not a huge fan of Combine workouts so his 40 time doesn't bother me too much. He has emerged as one of the top tacklers in college football. He is ideal for either the 3-4 or 4-3 schemes with his technique and skill set.
If it weren't for Sedrick Ellis, Laws might have shined as the most impressive defensive lineman at the Senior Bowl. He has been one of the few solid defenders for Notre Dame this season. We'll have to see how Trevor Laws plays without Derek Landri and Victor Abiamiri by his side. I think the guy would shine in a 4-3 system and surprise people with his power.
A DT breakdown: