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Broncos Front 7 void of holes heading into draft

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There is not a single glaring hole along the Broncos front 7, starters or otherwise, heading into the 2015 NFL Draft.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Does that mean the Broncos will not or should not draft one? Nope. In fact they are going to have a lot of important players hit free agency next season (Miller, Jackson, Trevathan to name a few). They should always be looking to add playmakers to that front 7 regardless of talent level.

The DL

Position

Starter

Backup

RDE

Jackson (6-5, 293)

A. Smith (6-3, 290)

NT

Williams (6-2, 313)

Austin (6-2, 312)

LDE

Wolfe (6-5, 285)

V. Walker (6-2, 305)

The amount of players DOES NOT CHANGE from last season even if the personnel has. The Broncos basically had a rotation of six guys up front with Pot Roast and Unrein missing here. Now what we have is a solid rotation of four players to play the end spots and a rotation of three to play the NT position. Vance Walker will play any position along the line, and the team is looking to Antoine Smith to be able to fill a pass-rushing role from an end position. Look for a rotation of Smith, Austin, and Jackson against pass happy offenses.

All six of these players can move inside and play the pass rush on nickel downs.

The LB, Meet "MO"

Position

Starter

Backup

Depth

Other

WILL

Ware (6-4, 258)

Q. Smith (6-5, 255)

Anunike (6-4, 260)

*Rivers (6-5, 258)

MO

Marshall (6-1, 238)

Trevathan (6-1, 240)

Nelson (6-0, 231)


MIKE

R. Walker (6-0, 244)

Barrett (6-1, 260)

Johnson (6-1, 237)

Barrow

(6-2, 229)

Davis

(6-1, 230)

SAM

Miller (6-3, 250)

McCray (6-3, 249)

Mason (6-3, 235)


The Broncos have a flux of young, though unproven talent at linebacker.

Let's meet "Mo" shall we? Mo used to be "Will" but WILL is now our WOLB (weak outside linebacker) or edge rusher. There are a million ways to label players through largely useless nomenclature, but this is the system we are going to use for the immediate future.

The MIKE is our LILB or SILB (left inside or strong inside line backer) he will be on the field closest to the "Mo" and Sam.

Right now Reggie Walker should be considered our starer at MIKE. I know we all had visions of Marshall and Trevathan on the filed as cover guys most of the time, but it seems more and more to me like we will have a tried and true rotation of a coverage guy at "MO" and a run stuffer at "MIKE." Size matters to an extent. You're usually going to see the "MIKE" position play a little bit heavier into the 250's and 260's. The only one currently on the roster that fits the bill is Shaq Barrett.

It is going to be hard for smaller guys like Corey Nelson to make the roster with a logjam at the cover spot. On the other hand, the MIKE position is wide-open and depth behind Von Miller is always a welcomed commodity.

Looking ahead to the draft

The Broncos are solid all around, but are weakest at the MIKE position. The issue is importance. Elway has filled the MIKE position during his tenure with the likes of Joe Mays, Wesley Woodyard, Paris Lenon, Todd Davis. Woodyard is the only person on that list that is a quality player in my view. The fact is that Elway and the defense has not valued the MLB with any sort of priority. This would be a luxury pick if the right player is available.Not only that, the archetype changes a little bit with Wade Phillips in charge. More valuable is a MIKE that can also blitz and disrupt the passing game. In the end, a two-down thumper that can shoot the "A" gap might be precisely what the Broncos are after. If that's the case, the list of players that fit the bill grows.

Beyond that, adding pass-rushers is always a possibility. Next season you're going to have either Von Miller on the Franchise Tag with DeMarcus Ware in the final season of his deal. The Broncos should have a back-up plan in place in order to fill those holes if necessary.

I see the NT position as fairly thin so I would expect one of the Broncos picks to be here, you would prefer to see a hybrid player with "tweener" who could play the NT position as well as the end positions.

Though the DE spot is solid, issues with age among the backups to go along with the fact that both Wolfe and Jackson will become UFA in 2015 tells me the Broncos will target a NT, a 5-tech DE, and an edge rusher. \

Use your knowledge and value these positions in order of importance. An edge rusher will be more valuable to the Broncos draft war-room than a 5-tech DE.

From highest to lowest draft need:

Edge rusher

NT

5-tech

MLB