The Broncos draft is over, and the overall grades are in. Experts and fans alike consider the Broncos draft highly successful. Here at PO, about 32% of respondents gave the team a B+. About 85% of respondents gave the Broncos between an ‘A’ and a ‘B’.
Fox Sports went quite a bit lower, giving the team a C+. The critique here was over Von Miller.
While Miller is a great player, he would be better off at defensive end rather than outside linebacker. Most personnel evaluators believe he would be a better fit for a 3-4 defense than Denver’s 4-3.
USA Today saw more potential in this Broncos draft class and gave the team a B-.
If OLB Von Miller lives up to promise, he can team with Elvis Dumervil for an outstanding set of bookend rushers. Rangy second-rounder Rahim Moore could pair with fourth-rounder Quinton Carter as the future safety tandem.
Sporting News gave the Broncos a B+ saying,
Von Miller and Rahim Moore will upgrade a defense that desperately needs it, and Orlando Franklin will help the offensive line.
Had the Denver Broncos not been lacking defensive tackles on their roster and their draft class, their efforts over the three days of the 2011 Draft would rank higher. The addition of pass rusher Von Miller — an immediate candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors — certainly boosts their grade.
A lot of criticism over the Broncos draft has stemmed from a need at defensive tackle. So how could a team that drafted four linebackers, two safeties, two tight ends, and a tackle not pick up at least one defensive tackle. John Fox addressed the defensive tackle position in a conference call with fans on Monday.
“We haven’t had free agency yet, but there will be that at some point,” Fox said. “That will be the area that we address. It is full of a lot of talented players.” – Denver Post
Right now, the Broncos have Kevin Vickerson and Louis Leonard on the line. Marcus Thomas and Ryan McBean are restricted free agents.
So who do the Broncos have available at defensive tackle in the free agent market? Let’s take a look around the league.
1. Barry Cofield (NY Giants) – The Giants could look to get rid of Cofield since they drafted Marvin Austin with the 52nd overall pick. Cofield is very good against the run and can provide a pass rush as well.
2. Brandon Mebane (Seattle) – The Seahawks didn’t draft a significant DT in the draft, and reports say that Seattle will make signing him high on their “to-do” list. Mebane is another guy that is good against the run.
3. Cullen Jenkins (Green Bay) – Reports say that the Bears will go after Jenkins once free agency hits. He’s more suited for a 3-4 defense, but he’s coming off of a career high 7 sack season.
4. Aubrayo Franklin (San Francisco) – At 31 years old, this nose tackle still has a nose for the game. He makes plays on the run and had 39 tackles last year for the 49ers.
5. Stephen Bowen (Dallas) – He can play the tackle position, but also does well at defensive end. He played in all 16 games for the Cowboys last season and had 22 tackles and 2 sacks.
6. Mike Patterson (Philadelphia) – Patterson is a staple on the Eagles’ line. He had 37 tackles and 2 sacks for the Eagles last year.
These are just a few options that the Broncos must hop on as soon as free agency hits. Anyone else that I’m missing? Chime in.