The Denver Broncos on Monday signed outside linebacker/defensive end Robert Ayers, whom they selected in the first round (18th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft from the University of Tennessee. As per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Ayers (6-foot-3, 274 pounds) ranked third in the Southeastern Conference with a team-high 27.5 tackles for a loss during his final two seasons at Tennessee. In 48 career games (14 starts) with the Volunteers, he totaled 113 tackles (80 solo), nine sacks (61 yds.), one interception and four pass breakups.
As a senior in 2008, Ayers started all 12 games at right defensive end for Tennessee, posting a Southeastern Conference-best 15.5 tackles for a loss en route to earning second-team all-conference honors. His 49 tackles (34 solo) that year led the Volunteers' defensive line and helped UT tie for third in the nation in total defense (263.5 ypg.) and rank 10th in the country in scoring defense (16.8 ppg.).
Ayers played all 14 games for Tennessee in 2007, posting team highs in sacks (4) and tackles for a loss (12) while finishing the season with 34 total tackles (25 solo).
An all-state linebacker at Marlboro County High School in Bennettsville, S.C., Ayers was born on Sept. 6, 1985, in Clio, S.C.