Prior to and immediately following the draft, I was excited about Ayers as a Broncos pick for one reason: at least some scouts believed that he had the frame to bulk up a little and be a good 5-technique, 3-4 defensive end. I remember one saying that if Jackson wasn't available, Ayers was the last chance to get an impact 5-technique in this draft class. (Can't remember exactly where, unfortunately). So I was suprised when Ayers lined up as an OLB rather than a DE.
Nolan seemed to love the idea of having huge OLBs that could play right up on the line, allowing a hybrid 3-4/5-2 system. But Ayers doesn't seem to have the skill set of a traditional 3-4 outside backer. Dumervil seems to be a similar player that way, but with much stronger pass rushing skills (which I never got the impression was Ayers's strong suit anyway). Particularly if Dumervil stays around, it just doesn't make sense to me to plan on having Ayers line up opposite Dumervil very often, as they seem to share the same weaknesses in doing the other stuff the OLBs are supposed to do, like pass coverage.
So...now that Nolan is gone, do you think Ayers gets moved up to the line? I'm no fooball talent scout, I'm just going off what the scouts were saying prior to the draft. So all you great football minds out there, did the stuff we saw from Ayers his first year indicate that he would make a good 5 technique, or a better 5-technique than OLB?
PS, maybe this is an area where Nolan and McDaniels disagreed? I don't remember seeing any OLBs like Ayers in New England. If McD wanted to draft an OLB, I can't understand why they wouldn't have drafted Clay Matthews instead. He seemed to perfectly fit the New England OLB mold coming out (he was the pick for New England on just about every mock draft I saw leading up to the draft for this reason, although New England ended up trading away the Matthews pick to the Packers, so maybe he wasn't really). I would have said they should pick Matthews over Ayers if they wanted an OLB before the draft, and, in hindsight, it looks like that would have been a pretty good pick. Not that I think the Ayers pick is necessarily a bad one, particularly if he turns into a quality 5-technique or OLB.