We've broken down the Top-10 Draft Busts of the Denver Broncos, so let's change the mood a bit. Over the next several days we will look at the Top-10 Draft 'Hits' the Broncos have had, and let me tell ya, it was a hard list to compile. The Broncos have enjoyed their share of draft surprises over the years in all rounds. Narrowing the list to just 10 was challenging.
Anyway, like the last list, this is purely subjective. Many of these guys could appear anywhere on the list, and several others could have made the Top-Ten. That's the fun part - debate about it, come up with your own list, and let's create some positive energy for the 2011 NFL Draft.
With that said, let's move on to #8 in the list....
#8 - Elvis Dumervil - DE, Louisville(2006, 4th Round, 126th Pick)
The first two players on the list of Denver Broncos Draft Successes were first rounders. Let's look a bit deeper in the draft, shall we... about 100 players deeper. That's where we find one of the bright spots in Mike Shanahan's most recent drafting. Elvis Dumervil, selected in the 4th Round of the 2006 Draft, has been a huge success for the Broncos, even if he never regained the form that saw him lead the NFL in sacks back in 2009. Knock on wood....
Dumervil was a slow starter in college, accounting for just 28 tackles and 2 sacks combined as a freshman and sophomore. His numbers improved to 10 sacks as a junior in 2004 which was just a sign of things to come for Dumervil as a senior in 2005. Dumervil had 6 sacks in a game against Kentucky and his 17 sacks in 2005 broke a Big East record set by another dominant NFL defensive end - Dwight Freeney. Still, many were skeptical that Dumervil could transition to the NFL, mainly due to his smaller 5'11 stature. Dumervil's wing-span, however, is that of a man much bigger, allowing him to fend off would-be blockers. It was that fact that convinced Mike Shanahan to draft Dumervil in the 4th Round.
Dumervil showed improvement early in his career. In 2006, as a rookie, Dumervil had 8.5 sacks. That number climbed to 12.5 in 2007. 2008 was a down year for Doom as he finished with a career-low 5 sacks. A coaching change, followed by a position change, did wonders for Dumervil, however, as Josh McDaniels brought in a 3-4 defense, moving Dumervil to outside linebacker. Dumervil responded with a NFL-leading 17 sacks in 2009, leading to his first Pro Bowl appearance.
The Broncos rewarded Dumervil with a six-year, $61.5 million contract extension prior to Training Camp in 2010. Shortly after signing the contract, however, Dumervil suffered a torn pectoral muscle and missed all of the 2010 season. It appears Dumervil has recovered completely from the injury, though we won't know for sure until football resumes.
No matter what happens from here on out, it's hard to think of Elvis Dumervil as anything but a Draft-Day Success for the Denver Broncos. Let's just hope there are many years like 2009 left in Doom, and he does it for the Denver Broncos.
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