Denver Broncos 2013 Pre-Draft Position Breakdown: Linebackers

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Each week leading up to the draft, I will evaluate the current Broncos defensive roster. I will break down DE's, DT's, LB's CB's and Safeties individually and devote a write up to each position group. Bronco Mike will be taking on the Offense. By the time the draft comes, you should have a good idea where the Broncos might be looking to add quality starters or necessary depth to round out a very talented roster.

I will present information on each player as it relates to their:

1) Contract numbers for the 2013 season

2) 2012 Production

3) Likely place on 2013 Depth Chart/Roles

The goal will be to determine what potential holes the Broncos need to fill on the current roster and whether or not that position group has a low, moderate, or high need heading into the 2013 NFL Draft. Next up are the Linebackers.

The Broncos currently have 7 linebackers on their roster. Von Miller, Wesley Woodyard, Nate Irving, Joe Mays, Steve Johnson, Bradley Stewart, and Danny Trevathan

Contracts:

Player Position Base Salary Signing Bonus Other Bonus Dead Money Cap Figure
Von Miller SLB 2,284,125 3,443,251 0 12,409,313 5,727,376
Wesley Woodyard WLB 3,000,000 250,000 0 250,000 3,250,000
Nate Irving MLB 555,000 173,750 0 347,500 728,750
Danny Trevathan WLB 480,000 26,018 0 78,054 506,018
Joe Mays MLB 4,000,000 166,667 0 833,334 4,166,667
Steven Johnson MLB 480,000 4,000 0 8,000 484,000
Bradley Stewart SLB 900,000 200,000 100,000 300,000 1,200,000

Notes:

  • I still have no clue why the Broncos paid Joe Mays that much.
  • Von Miller for 5 million is still a helluva bargin
  • Wesley Woodyard and Bradley Stewart will be free agents in 2014

2012 Production:

Player Tackles Sacks Interceptions Forced Fumbles
Von Miller 68 18.5 1 6
Wesley Woodyard 117 5.5 3 1
Nate Irving 13 0 0 0
Danny Trevathan 33 1 0 0
Steven Johnson 10 0 0 1
Joe Mays 20 .5 0 0
Stewart Bradley 11 0 0 0

Notes:

  • Von Miller and Wesley Woodyard are studs.
  • Wesley Woodyard lead the team in tackles and was tied with Chris Harris for the team high in Interceptions with 3.
  • Von Miller lead the team in sacks and was tied with Elvis Dumervil for a team high in forced fumbles with 6.

Depth Chart/Roles for 2013

Von Miller will be your starting strong side linebacker and Wesley Woodyard will be your starting weakside linebacker. After that, it's all up in the air. Nate Irving, Joe Mays, Stewart Bradley, and Steven Johnson are both battling for MLB starting spot. Danny Trevathan will assume the same role he had last year. Trev will be in on passing/nickel downs. Do the Broncos coaches give him reps outside of those situations is something i'm curious about.

Lets talk about the middle linebacker position. I personally would love to see Nate Irving start inside. He's a thumper and is talented. Now the question is, is he another Joe Mays? Or can he do or improve on what Keith Brooking did last year? I'm excited to see more of Steven Johnson. I liked what i saw from him last preseason, so lets see if he's improved his game. I think Joe Mays and Bradley are battling for a roster spot. The fact Joe Mays is counting the Broncos 4 million this year is terrible. However both Bradley and Mays have very cuttable contracts. Their dead money numbers are $800,000 and $300,000 respectively. It seems like the Broncos coaches are going to let these 4 guys battle it out this offseason and may the best man win.

2013 Draft Need: Moderate to Borderline low

The Broncos are set on the outside. The question is, do the Broncos have a starting middle linebacker? Last year they showed they can have a top 5 defense without having a top of the line Inside linebacker. Do they decide to go that route again, and go with Irving, Johnson, Mays or Bradley? or do they use a high draft pick on a guy?

The Broncos should have a few Inside linebackers available when they pick at 28. Tims favorite Manti Te'o, Arthur Brown, Alec Ogletree and Kevin Minter could be available. If the Broncos do not feel comfortable with what they have inside, they could pull the trigger on one of those guys. The draft will give us a good idea on what John Fox and Jack Del Rio think about our current inside linebackers.


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