It is now official. Texas A&M linebacker and star pass rush specialist Von Miller is now a member of the Denver Broncos, who all of a sudden have the makings of--wait for it--a potent pass rushing attack.
Miller was an outstanding linebacker/defensive end hybrid for the Aggies over the last few years, and has been an All American each of the last two years. Miller led Texas A&M with 10.5 sacks in 2010 just one year after leading the entire nation in 2009 with 17. He has consistently proven that he can put pressure on the quarterback, and the only question really was, "Can he cover?"
Well, it's not like the Broncos are asking Miller to play defensive back here, even though at 6'3" 246 pounds he does run a sub 4.5 second 40 yard dash. The 22 year old doesn't exactly have a lot of experience in this regard, but he is a three down player and is especially valuable on third down.
The Broncos will be able to use Miller in many different ways. They can disguise him at the line, they can incorporate the "joker" position like he played at Texas A&M, and they will likely find ways to turn him into the playmaker they know he can be.
Miller is 22 years old and has huge upside, and is a guy that some have already predicted will be the defensive rookie of the year. He will likely start his career as the Broncos' starting SAM linebacker, where he will line up behind Robert Ayers and opposite Elvis Dumervil.Despite the Broncos having to wait 34 picks for their next guy, it should turn out to be well worth the wait. A consensus top ten talent in Da'Quan Bowers has fallen to the second round, mainly due to concerns about his knee. Nobody really thought Bowers would fall out of the first round all together, save for a select few, and now with a full day to think about it, there he is. The Broncos might not get to him first, but if he is on the board at 36, would they really pass?
Is it possible, if Bowers' knee injury concerns are that significant, that he could fall to the Broncos' 46th overall pick?
If not Bowers in the second round (no brainer to me), the Broncos could have their pick of some of the draft's top defensive tackle prospects who fell to the 2nd round, like Oregon State's Stephen Paea or North Carolina's Marvin Austin. Both players were likely graded as top 30 players by the Broncos, so they will be in play with this pick as well as Bowers.
You have to wonder, at this point, if Bowers' knee is worth the risk. The Broncos have taken players who are injury risks before, and it has not always panned out the way they wanted it to. The real question right now is, what is going on with Bowers' knee, and why did the guy who people used to say would be a top five pick slip out of the first round entirely?
Obviously, there are reasons. In my final Broncos mock on Thursday, I predicted the 36th pick would be Stephen Paea. That could certainly come to fruition now, and the Broncos will have a little less than a day to deliberate. Either way, the Broncos will come out of the second round with at least one first round talent, and if Bowers' knee is of real concern, they may be able to nab both him and a guy like Paea or Austin tomorrow, but we will see.