clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2012 Free Agency Preview - Defensive Linemen

Getty Images

If you were a time traveler and a fan of the Denver Broncos who was (in the very, very likely event) only able to decipher what year you had landed in by asking questions about the Broncos, you'd be hard pressed if the only question you got to ask was, 'What position needs the greatest amount of improvement this offseason?'

And the person replied with, 'The defensive line!'

It could basically be any year between 2001-11. 2012 is no different, though the defensive line has seen much improvement since John Fox has come on board.

Fox stuck with Marcus Thomas and Ryan McBean, the Broncos traded for Brodrick Bunkley (and Jeremy Jarmon) and saw contributions from Mitch Unrein. They have since signed a rookie defensive tackle Sealver Siliga out of Utah. Denver also saw Kevin Vickerson suffer an injury that landed him on the injured reserve and fans have yet to see possibly the best defensive lineman the Broncos have in a Denver uniform; one of last season's most major signings Ty Warren.

At defensive end there is Pro Bowler Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers, Ayers late season play may have assured that he keeps his starting position throughout this offseason. Backing up the two bookends are Derrick Harvey and linebacker convert Jason Hunter, 2011 seventh round draft pick Jeremy Beal has been signed to a future contract.

Thomas, Bunkley, Harvey and Hunter are all free agents this offseason and McBean is a restricted free agent. There could be some very major moves made here for Denver.

There are various big names in free agency who are scheduled to be available, but probably won't be anywhere near signing with any team other than the one they played for in 2011. Names like Robert Mathis from the Indianapolis Colts, Antonio Garay from the San Diego Chargers, Cliff Avril from the Detroit Lions, and John Abraham from the Atlanta Falcons.

Then there is defensive tackle Jason Jones from the Tennessee Titans, he's not Albert Haynesworth in his prime so oddly it would make sense for the Titans to re-sign him and not let him walk like they have their top defensive lineman in the past. He is one of my favorite rushing defensive tackles and if he gets anywhere near free agency I'd hope the Broncos would jump.

If the Arizona Cardinals are going to make some major spending moves this offseason it doesn't make sense for them to not re-sign one of their own in Calais Campbell, but as with Jones if Campbell gets to test the waters Denver may want to see if he is interested in playing in a 4-3.

This is one of those positions that Denver may want to simply focus on re-signing their own guys than going after a home run hit in free agency. Not that the Broncos have been known to crack one in free agency recently instead signing the lesser known guys and turning them into Pro Bowlers.

Don't forget about Ty Warren and Kevin Vickerson either my friends.

Missed something? Here are my other free agency previews: quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends.

Follow me on Twitter here @theorangepage.