If the third time really is the charm then this is Robert Ayers’ year. Ayers is entering his third season in the NFL with high hopes and great expectations. Ayers was drafted in the first-round, 18th overall, and finally has a great cast of coaches and teammates around him to ensure success, at least on paper.
“I feel like I’m just the wildcard,” Ayers said Wednesday after practice. “People are looking at Elvis [Dumervil] and these other guys (referring to Von Miller), and hopefully I can punch them (opponents) in the mouth a couple of times. That’s my goal.”
People have been waiting for Ayers to break out of his shell. Coming out of the University of Tennessee, Ayers was a highly touted recruit known for his speed and quickness. He appeared valuable coming out of college because he could play both defensive end and linebacker.
In his rookie year with the Broncos, Ayers played in 15 games and had 9 tackles. In 2010, he played in 11 games and had 39 tackles and 2 sacks. That was at linebacker, a position he wasn’t entirely comfortable playing at the pro level.
This year, however, he’s moving to the defensive line.
After two years in the 3-4, the Broncos are moving to the 4-3 under John Fox.
“It doesn’t really make a difference to me,” Ayers said.” It’s just the same to me. 4-3, 3-4, it doesn’t really matter if you’re being aggressive.”
Ayers has put the past behind him and he has high expectations for the defense this season.
“I don’t see a reason why we can’t be great and can’t be considered among the elite.”