Ryan Mathews of the San Diego Chargers loses his helmet to Brodrick Bunkley of the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 9, 2011. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Defensive Tackle Brodrick Bunkley is the next Denver Bronco we will review. Bunkley was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1st round (14th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft after a stellar 4 year college career at Florida State. Brodrick appeared in 15 games as a rookie and in 2007, he moved into the starting Defensive Tackle spot alongside Mike Patterson. He made 30 Tackles and 3 Sacks that season. After becoming the starter, Bunkley started 52 straight games up until Week 5 of the 2010 season, when he suffered ligament and nerve damage to his left elbow. He totaled 262 tackles (146 solo), six sacks (25 yds.) and three fumble recoveries in his 5 seasons with Philadelphia. On July 30, 2011, Brodrick was traded to the Browns in exchange for a 5th-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, but the trade was nullified after Bunkley didn't show up in Cleveland. Instead, the Eagles swapped him to the Broncos for an unspecified pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
He also had 3 Tackles for a Loss, 1 Quarterback Hit and a Forced Fumble in the regular season.
2011 Season Highlights:
Brodrick was a consistent producer in the middle of the Defensive Line with two 5 Tackle games and five 4 Tackles games in 2011.
On Monday Night at home vs. Oakland, Bunkley started the season opener after missing the final preseason game due to injury. In Week 2 vs. Cincinnati, his lone Tackle in the game came on a 3rd down stuff on Cedric Benson for no gain during Cincinnati’s first offensive drive of the game. That play elucidated a funny little "Sack Dance" that was imitated by Marcus Thomas in another game.
He added 6 Tackles, 1 Sack, 1 Tackle For a Loss and a QB Hit in the postseason.
Bunkley is an above-average defensive tackle who brings an aggressive style to the interior line, mixing spin moves and a quick first step to stuff the run and occasionally break into the backfield. A very intense competitor. He has ample strength to dominate in the middle, having Bench pressed 225 pounds 44 times at the 2006 NFL Combine in one of the top performances in the history of the event.
At 6-2, he's a little shorter than you want in an interior lineman. Brodrick prefers to go after the ball rather than drop back in coverage, a sometimes gambling style that might occasionally get him burned.
Free Agent Options
There is a mutual feeling between Bunkley and the Broncos for him to return and I suppose like everything else, it all comes down to money. In 2011, he drew a salary of $635,000, As an Unrestricted Free Agent going into his 7th year, the minimum wage under the new CBA would be $825,000. I believe it is safe to say that Bunkley will make much more than that. Marcus Thomas made $1 Million last season and Brodrick had similar stats. There has also been talk that he might be Franchise Tagged. The projected Franchise Tender will be in the range of $7.89 - $8.193 million and the projected Transition Tender will be around $6.613 - $6.867 million. That is a little steep for the service that Bunkley provides though. In my opinion, he should be getting Cullen Jenkins type money which is in the $2.75M - $3.5 Million range. One thing for sure is that Bunkley makes things easier for the Broncos Pass rushing tandem of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. In fact, Elvis has spoken.
"We haven't had a guy like that, not since I've been here. He's been like a monster in there."