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Denver Broncos 2013 Training Camp Preview: Defensive End

Our 2013 Denver Broncos training camp preview series is nearly wrapped up, but we've got another huge position of change to preview - defensive end. Training camp starts Thursday!


If you were tasked with building a football team from scratch, consensus is that the positions you'd start with are three: quarterback, offensive tackle, and pass-rushing defensive end.

The Broncos have a quarterback (Peyton Manning). They have an elite left tackle (Ryan Clady). But they lost their best psas-rushing defensive end Elvis Dumervil this offseason, and didn't replace him with any one man who can churn out the same production.

Instead, they will depend on a team effort making up for Dumervil's lost impact. They will rely on outside linebacker Von Miller to continue to play at an elite level. They will rely on hybrid defensive lineman Derek Wolfe to build upon his rookie year. They will rely on their defensive tackles to put an enormous amount of pressure on opposing quarterbacks from the inside.

"I think if we all up our play 5% we'll be all right," Von Miller told MHR this offseason. "If we can get everybody up front - not just one guy, not two guys, three guys, but everybody - rushing the passer, everybody on point, we'll be pretty good."


Robert Ayers
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 274
Age: 27 Exp: 5
Incoming Camp Status: Starter

Robert Ayers hasn't been the high-impact starter the Broncos hoped he would be when they selected him in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft, but he has the opportunity this year to change that. After a year of not being the starter in 2012, Ayers returns to the starting lineup entering training camp. He could earn more or less reps based on his performance in camp.

Camp Outlook: Nothing is set in stone for Robert Ayers. He'll either earn more or less reps (playing in the nickel package too or losing his starting role altogether) based on his play in camp and preseason.


Derek Wolfe
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 285
Age: 23 Exp: 2
Incoming Camp Status: Starter

Derek Wolfe's versatility bore fruit for the Broncos from year one, with the rookie attaining six sacks as a base defensive end while moving inside to defensive tackle in nickel packages.

Camp Outlook: Big things are expected from Wolfe in Year Two. He should retain his starting role and continue to see time in nickel packages as well.


Jeremy Beal
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 280
Age: 25 Exp: 2*
Incoming Camp Status: Backup

An injury sustained in Week Four of the preseason last year knocked Jeremy Beal out of the Broncos' equation in 2012, as he would spend the entire season on Injured Reserve. After looking good in camp and the preseason, and with a year under his belt on practice squad, will everything line up for Beal to crack the roster this season?

Camp Outlook: If healthy, he will compete for a backup, perhaps even starting role.


Malik Jackson
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 293
Age: 25 Exp: 2
Incoming Camp Status: Backup

Malik Jackson played in 14 games as a rookie last year, in backup defensive end and special teams roles. Jackson may be a physical presence at 6-5, 293, but he wasn't able to put a lot of pressure on enemy quarterbacks last year.

Camp Outlook: The Broncos have no loyalties to Robert Ayers, so if Malik Jackson has a hell of a camp expect him to push for a starting spot. We just don't see that happening yet this year.


Quanterus Smith
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 250
Age: 23 Exp: R
Incoming Camp Status: Rehabilitating rookie

Quanterus Smith showed promise as an elite pass rusher and quality defensive end overall when he took over starting duties for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in 2012. Smith led the nation with 12.5 sacks through 10 games last year before an injury ended his senior season in November.

Camp Outlook: Smith enters camp rehabbing a torn ACL, though he did participate in some minicamp work. Still, until he's 100% (which may not be until next year), taper expectations for the rookie.


Lanston Tanyi
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 250
Age: 22 Exp: R
Incoming Camp Status: Roster bubble

Lanston Tanyi is an undrafted hometown product who will be given a shot at camp. His one season with the CSU Rams saw him net 77 tackles and three sacks.

Camp Outlook: Tanyi is more likely battling for a spot on the practice squad than the regular season roster.


John Youboty
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 252
Age: 23 Exp: R
Incoming Camp Status: Roster bubble

John Youboty is another undrafted rookie free agent the Broncos brought in for camp this year. Youboty switched from defensive tackle to end in 2012 for the Owls, finishing with the most tackles for loss on the team (six).

Camp Outlook: Youboty would need to seriously surpass expectations to crack the roster, instead more likely competing for a possible spot on the team's practice squad.

Another name to remember: Shaun Phillips. Don't be surprised if the former San Diego Chargers pass rush specialist transcends his role of outside linebacker and sees time at defensive end as well.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing and hearing about at camp, Broncos country?