Coming off a hopeful, yet disappointing 2008 season, the Denver Broncos look to have young promising talent going into the future. With the 2nd best offense in football returning, a young defense in place, and an exciting young Josh McDaniels, Denver looks to tap into the playoffs in the near future. Now, everybody knows about the obvious bright young stars already in Denver- Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal and Ryan Clady. Here are 3pre-draft breakout defensive players for the 2009 season:
3. Josh Barrett, Safety
After spending the first 11 weeks on the practice squad, Barrett was activated just before the November 30 game against the Jets. He shadowed the future HOF TE Tony Gonzales a week earlier against the KC Chiefs. To throw some more acronyms at you, in week 15 Barrett became the SSS-starting strong safety. In his first game as a starter he had 11 tackles and an interception in a losing effort.
Barrett has flashes of Steve Atwater in him, a hard-hitter, yet useful in coverage. At 6’2”, 233 pounds Barrett is big enough, and fast enough to cover tight ends, which helps in a division with Tony Gonzales and Antonio Gates. This will take some pressure off an aging Champ Bailey-who usually covers these guys.
With 4.3 speed and a ZinedineZidane-esque temper, Barrett looks to return the prominence of the Denver safety in 2009.
2.Wesley Woodyard, Outside Linebacker
Woodyard exploded onto the scene in 2008. Undrafted rafted out of the
University of Kentucky, where he had three 1oo tackle seasons, not many people expected him to make team, let alone become a starter.
Wesley is the prototype Broncos linebacker, Rick Dennison quick, and is as tough as Karl Mecklenburg’s fists. He quickly showed that he wasn’t going to be a pushover as he promptly made the team, and became a staple on special teams early in the season. After injuries beset the line-backing core, Woodyard got his shot in week 10 against the Browns, where he recorded 10 tackles.
Woodyard will have some much needed NFL coaching and experience in his second year. The quickness, the coverage skills, the game experience, will make WesleyWoodyard a prominent force for the Mile High defense.
1. Jarvis Moss, Defensive End:
Heading into his third NFL season Moss’ performance would even make Al Davis depressed. In the 19 games he has played in, Moss has amassed 3.5 sacks and 39 tackles, this all coming from a player who was the 17th overall selection in the 2007 draft.
There is upside to this 6’6” 270 vacuum, he has battled a fractured right fibula ever since his rookie season. His speed is astounding compared to his size; this paired with his strength makes him a hazard for lines when he is healthy. Before his leg injury, he recorded 14 tackles; a sack and a forced fumble in 6 games as a backup. Jarvis did this all without a decent player at the tackle spot. Dewayne Robertson (DT) has not work out as planned and has added extra pressure on the DE’s, making it tougher to reach the passer.
With a defensive tackle position to be filled with someone with competency, or at least the ability to tackle, pressure will be taken off ends Moss and Dumerville, who has already been established as a threat. With offenses writing him off, a healthy offseason, and a DT with the ability to uphold blocks, Moss looks to have a long awaited breakout year.