In recent off seasons it seems there have been three guarantees, the Raiders will draft a guy based on his 40 time, Brett Favre will be linked with any team needing a Quarterback and the Broncos' number one need is a DT. However, this off season, it has been very quiet on the Favre front and the Raiders seem to have a front office who wants to do things sensibly but the Broncos still need that elusive DT. Many draftniks have the Broncos resolving this issue, as they have done in the past few off seasons, and many members of this site are calling for the Broncos to draft the best DT on the board yet I am becoming more and more convinced that this will not happen. The reason for this is that I think there are only two DTs who deserve to be drafted in the first round and by the 25th pick will both be off the board.
Those two players I believe are first round quality are Michael Brockers and Fletcher Cox who have the best motors of any DTs in the class. Brockers, as a sophomore, commanded double teams, he was solid against the run, was getting better at pressurising the QB and his height gives him the opportunity to batter down passes or block kicks. Cox whilst not as impressive a run defender has shown the ability to get to the QB, something the Broncos would love to have. These player's traits are not just important to the Broncos but also every other team in the league and it would not surprise me if these players are both off the board by the 15th pick let alone the 25th. This would then leave a host of talented DTs on the board but with enough questions for me to suggest they shouldnt be picked up until the 2nd or 3rd round of this draft.
Brandon Thompson - he is my 3rd player on the list as he is a good player against the run and has show he can generate some pressure on the QB. However I think what you see is what you get and he has very little in the way of upside and I question whether his best is enough to get him picked in the 1st round, although I think he can start at this level almost immediately. 1st/2nd round grade
Devon Still and Jarel Worthy - these players have 1st round talent and both can play the run and pass but both disappear from games and Still did not perform well against the best o-lines he came up against, Ohio St and Wisconsin. Are their motor/conditioning/commitment issues enough of a worry for the FO to drop out of 1st round consideration? For me it is. Early 2nd round grade
Kendall Reyes - he can generate a lot of pressure on the QB and has a huge upside due to his athletic ability but gets washed out too often against the run and strong interior linemen. Mid 2nd round grade
Dontari Poe - his tape is poor but his athletic ability and physical build make him so intriguing. He is a 3rd round talent with 1st round possibilities. Mid 2nd round grade
Alameda Ta'amu - whilst his tape is better than Poe and he demonstrates good athleticism and collapses the pocket but whether his motor is good enough and if he fits into the defence is questionable. Late 2nd round grade
Mike Martin and Josh Chapman - both of these players on tape seem to show that they can be very good run defenders who have good motors but might not trouble the QB. Based on the tape they deserve 3rd round grades. However reports of Martin at the Senior Bowl told of how he dominated men in the one-on-one drills and showed real explosion, this suggests to me that if he was given a chance at the Under Tackle he has real potential to generate that pressure. Based on that I give Martin a late 2nd round grade and Chapman an early 3rd round grade.
If the two guys at the top are not there then drafting at another position needs to be looked at rather than reaching before looking at these 2nd round prospects later.