On defense everything starts up front, but it’s the secondary that often feels the most pressure.
When the Broncos pass rush and run defense were spot on last season, the secondary had an easier time doing their jobs. When it was off, big plays would break and eyes would lock in on a corner or safety that missed an assignment.
The Broncos have one shutdown corner in Champ Bailey, and this offseason they ‘re looking to beef up the other side. They let Andre Goodman go and brought Tracy Porter in from the New Orleans Saints. They’re hoping second-year CB Chris Harris continues to step up, and Cassius Vaughn will compete for a spot as well.
This past weekend, they drafted cornerback Omar Bolden out of Arizona State. The Broncos think that he has first or second round talent. The only problem is they got him in the fourth round (101st overall) because he didn’t play at all last season with a torn ACL.
“Greek (Trainer Steve Antonopulos) said he was fine,” John Elway said. “Even though he hasn’t played on it yet, he’s been through workouts. We felt with Greek’s blessing, it was a good pick for us in the fourth.”
The Broncos didn’t have much contact with Bolden before the draft even though he put up great numbers at the combine in February (4.45 40-yard dash, 24 reps on bench press). Bolden met with the Broncos before his pro day and then the Broncos called him a couple of times leading up to the draft.
When asked if that has anything to do with not wanting to tip off other teams as to what the Broncos are doing, John Fox said, “Very much so.”
Bolden tore his ACL last April and missed all of the 2011 season. He also missed eight games in 2009 with a knee injury.
“I’m ready to play, ready to compete,” Bolden said.
Perhaps Bolden’s success in the NFL doesn’t hinge so much on his talent, but on his ability to stay healthy.
Bolden was a freshman all-American in 2007 and he was first team all-Pac-10 in 2010.
“From my perspective, I think getting one very good corner, we’re very happy with that,” Elway said. “You never have enough, but we feel very good about the one that we have.”
The Broncos will likely use Bolden in the return game as well (he played running back in high school).
Here’s a highlight video of Bolden: