Sam: Von Miller, Shaun Phillips
Will: Wesley Woodyard, Danny Trevathan
I'm not going to speculate on Damien Holmes or Larentee McCray at this point. Both would be lucky to make the team as a special teams contributor let alone make any significant impact in the LB rotation.
Going into last year, Wesley Woodyard was still a relative unknown. Sure he made plays and flashed potential, but he was given an opportunity to start because of DJ Williams' legal and doping issues. Woodyard came through in spades. He became only the 12th player in the last 30 years to have 100 tackles, 5 sacks, and 3 INT's in a single season. He was the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after his effort against the Saints where he had 10 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, and 1 forced fumble. On base downs he's the Will, on passing downs especially in the nickel defense he plays more the role of a Mike playing zone coverage in the middle of the field.
Danny Trevathan....TE Killer? Saw his first real time as a starter against the Saints matched up on TE Jimmy Graham. He played well in his first outing showing he could hang with the big, athletic TE's that rule the middle of the field in the modern game. He has the speed and instincts to be a valuable part of the team in 2013. With some solid experience under his belt, Trevathan may very well be the answer to the question of who will fill in the hybrid role against TE's.
Von Miller. There is no more exciting player on theroster than Von Miller. His transformation from pass rush specialist to all world LB is on the right track. Last season he saw more snaps in coverage. Though he still struggles some in this area, look for some improvement heading into 2013. What did improve was his play against the run, and his technique in pass rushing situations. Von Miller now has an entire tool-belt to choose from when rushing the passer. He can get leverage on a bull rush, spin, swim, rip, speed, you name it he can do it. His instincts have developed in the run game to the point where he really isn't running himself out of plays from the edge anymore.
Shaun Phillips will play a similar role to Von Miller. I fully expect to see some 3-4 looks with both of these guys coming off the edge to rush the passer. His presence on this team opens up a wide range of possibilities not only of what the Broncos can do schematically, but where they can position other players (Von Miller for instance) strategically.
Both of the Sam LB's can also rush with their hand on the ground from the DE position which adds even more versatility with the personnel the Broncos choose to go to battle with.
No group outside of perhaps the DB's excites me more heading into 2013. Go get some gentlemen!