Hi guys this is the next chapter of my thoughts of what the offseason will bring to the Broncos and how the FO could find solutions for Denver roster needs.
This part is about Defensive ends depth.
Even if the Broncos would resign both his two free agent, Denver needs depth at defensive ends.
Anyhow I don’t see the Broncos resigning Derrick Harvey. He was brought in and then activated only two or three times. He will be gone.
Jason Hunter also is a free agent. He could be re-signed for a cheap deal and could compete in training camp.
Jeremy Beal was picked in the 7th round last draft and has been part of the practice squad since training camp last cut. He will compete at training camp.
I feel Denver should sign some veteran free agent that could provide quality depth and push Ayers for the starting job. Together with free agency, if Denver has a shot at a good DE during the draft, they should pull the trigger (in any of the first 5 rounds).
So starting from the draft, these players are interesting to me:
Andre Branch (Clemson): H: 6-5 / W: 260. He is big and recorded more than 10 sacks this past year and an astonishing 17 tackle for loss. He would immediately push Ayers for playing time. Round where Denver could pick him: 1st
Jake Baquette (Arkansas): H: 6-5 / W: 264. 10 sacks and 10,5 tackle for loss. Another candidate for challenging Ayers and at least provide quality depth at pass rushing. Round where Denver could pick him: 2nd
Jared Crick (Nebraska): H: 6-6 / W: 285. Doesn’t look like a sure fire pass rusher, bur could be used in the same way Ayers is being used, against the run in the first two down and kicked inside against the pass. I really do like his size. Round where Denver could pick him: 3rd
Jonathan Massequoi (Troy): H: 6-2 / W: 250. Does not have elite size but 10,5 tackle for loss could be too good to pass up if he falls into the 3rd round. Round where Denver could pick him: 3rd
Jack Crawford (Penn State): H: 6-5 / W: 268. Less production than the players listed before but he has really good size and could be a good depth addiction. Round where Denver could pick him: 5th
Tyrone Crawford (Boise State): H: 6-4 / w: 285. 13,5 tackles for loss cannot being ignored if he falls into the 5th round. Anyhow I think he will go higher. Round where Denver could pick him: 3rd
Justin Francis (Rutgers): H: 6-2 / W: 270. His lack of size could let he fall in the draft. If he’s still there in the 5th round, his 13 tackles for loss could make him a candidate to wear orange and blue next September. Round where Denver could pick him: 5th
I’m not saying that the Broncos have to draft one of these prospects. I think the Broncos would like to find speed and attitude guys, so depending on their interview some prospect listed here above won’t being considered at all and others could be better candidate.
What I would like to point out is that to me it looks like this year draft looks like a good opportunity to add some pass rushing skills to the team.
Now I will list some veterans FA that could be under Broncos radar both for salary and abilities:
Adam Carriker (Redskins): H: 6-6 / W: 311. He didn’t live up his 1st round selection neither in St. Louis and Washington. So the broncos could sign him as a reserve to push Ayers. He could turn out to be this year Bunkley. He would have to lose some weight and get back to his college size. He could be good in my mind getting back to 4-3 end.
Phillip Merling (Dolphins): H: 6-4 / W: 295. Like Carriker he played pro as 3-4 DE. But he could be used by the Broncos as DE/DT tweener. He could come cheap because last season he played as the Achilles injuries he had in 2010 was still influencing him. He could provide good tweener depth and youth.
Williams Hayes (Tennesee): H: 6-3 / W: 272. He could provide good starting experience but not that much pass rush.
Wallace Gilberry (Kansas City): H: 6-2 / W: 268. This is one of the two guys I would like Denver to bring to training camp, because I think I would make the team and push Ayers for a lot of playing time. He will be cheap and possible a great depth finding.
Frostee Rucker (Cincinnati): H: 6-3 / W: 285. He could provide experience and depth. Not sure he is better than Jason Hunter.
Trevor Scott (Oakland): H: 6-5 / W: 255. He is the second player I’d like our FO to bring to BroncoLand. He’s nasty, he plays with guts. I think he will fit well with the team mentality. I ‘d pull the trigger in his signing.
Antwan Applewhite (Carolina): H: 6-3 / W: 258. He could be a competitor during training camp.
Jarvis Moss (Oakland): H: 6-7 / W: 260. I’m not on drugs. He couldn’t do worse than Harvey. He could be brought to training camp and compete for that 4th DE spot. He should come cheap or for free considering all the money The Broncos already paid him….it would be just fair.
In resume, I think the Broncos will bring in between 2 and 4 free agents, with various degree of capability and they will also look to add somebody through the draft if the value is there in the first 5 rounds. My favorite combination would be the signing of Trevor Scott and Wallace Gilberry and the drafting one physical pass rushing specimen.
I don’t think that Denver is interested in signing big time free agents that would look for teams that would automatically give them the starting role (I’m thinking about Mathis, Avril, Mincey and Abraham), neither Denver will look to spend a tons of money for Mario Williams (thought he deserves it, IMO) because it won’t fit the team building strategy that Denver embraced one year ago.