John Fox was hired as the head coach of the Carolina Panthers in 2002 so he was involved with 9 drafts for the Panthers. Given the level of consternation that has arisen around here about not selecting a DT in the draft, I chose to look back at what the Panthers did in the draft from 2002-2010 to see if this draft for the Broncos is similar to the way in which Fox drafted when he coached the Panthers.
By position here is how the Panthers drafts during those years broken down by position - 75 total players selected
16 DB - 21%
9 LB - 12%
8 RB - 11%
8 WR - 11%
7 DE - 9%
7 OT - 9%
6 TE - 8%
4 OG - 5%
4 QB - 5%
3 C - 5%
3 DT - 5%
Those 3 DTs were Atiyyah Ellison (3rd round, pick 25, 2005), Nick Hayden (6th round, pick 15, 2008), Corvey Irvin (3rd round, pick 29, 2009). Atiyyah Ellison had one season where he played in the NFL (2009 with the Jags, 6 starts, 15 games played, recording 15 tackles and 1 sack). Nick Hayden took 3 years, but he developed into a servicable starter for the Panthers. In 2010 he started 10 games and had 31 tackles and 1 sack. Corey Irvin made the team, but was only active for 2 games in 2010. DTs take time to develop and I firmly believe the Fox was drafting defensive players in 2011 who could step in an start or contribute significantly as rookies. You could look at this in two ways
1. John Fox has never gotten much value from the DTs he has drafted so he chose to use drafts on other positions
2. John Fox believes that it is better to find DT in the NFL FA pool so he chose to use draft picks on other problem positions
Had the Broncos chosen to draft a DT in the 2nd round, as I among many others was screaming for them to do, we would have been passing on either the 1st ranked S or the 2nd ranked OT to take the 9th best DT (looking at guys listed as DT or DL by NFL.com - assuming you had Dareus, Fairley, Luiget, Clayborn, Taylor, Wilkerson, Heyward and Jenkins as higher rated than Austin and Paea).
If you look at what the Broncos got 3 LB, 2 S, 2 TE, 1 OT, 1 DE, our draft looks very similar to what John Fox historically drafted when he was coaching the Panthers. So unless the value is right next year, don't expect EFX to reach and draft a DT just because the cupboard is almost bare at DT.
I did not look deep enough at the Panthers to determine what percentage of their starting DTs came from drafts and what percentage came from FAs during Fox's tenure (Jenkins - a long term starter in the NFL was drafted by the Panthers in 2001). However, given this history, I would surmise that most of their starting DTs were from free agency. So it should come as no surprise if Fox goes this route with the Broncos.