Following up to the article last week addressing the strengths and weaknesses of the Denver Broncos pass defense, here are my thoughts on ways we could improve our defense this off season through both the draft and free agency.
I like Rahim Moore and I think the kid has definitely got some potential. He has a great range but still makes a few mental mistakes. I think with the with the proper coaching Rahim could certainly live up to his moniker “The Dream.” I love the idea of moving Champ Bailey back to the safety position because it plays to all of his strengths. He’s a cerebral player who always knows where to be. He’s just getting to the point in his career that keeping up with kids who are fresh out of college and still running 4.44′s is tough to compete with. I also believe that moving a future hall of famer like Champ back to safety will really help bring out the all-star in Rahim. Having his veteran leadership as our last line of defense before the opposition can reach the end zone does wonders for my confidence in preventing the deep threat. Champ has said that he has zero interest in moving back to safety which leads me to another possibility: Dashon Goldson of San Francisco is an unrestricted free agent this season. He has performed very well for SF and the guy hits like a freight train. That is one thing I believe is missing from this team: the big hitter. Jairus Byrd from Buffalo is another amazing prospect at the safety position, but would eat up a lot of salary cap space and he could very well get slapped with the franchise tag which is why I’m not more excited for his prospect.
This may be a bold call, but I think Chris Harris and Tony Carter can handle the 1 and 2 positions respectively. They both performed very well this season and I think having the two of them on the outside puts this team in great shape. Some options for us to look at would be guys like Jamar Taylor out of Boise State in the second round. He’s got great leadership qualities and has a work ethic that has been praised by many of his coaches. He’s a strong open field tackler which is something that Denver will certainly appreciate as they have been a solid tackling team this whole season. I also like the prospect of someone like Jonthan Banks out of Mississippi if he falls to the second round. Kid’s got a real knack for pics and does very well in coverage with 9 pass breakups in his last season through 13 games. I’m not particularly excited with many of the free agents at CB this season, but Sam Shields has been looking more and more like he’s destined for greatness and if he continues to grow like he has, he could be a very worthwhile pickup if Green Bay decides to let him go.
With Elvis Dumervil, Derek Wolfe, Wesley Woodyard, and Von Miller as our primary pass rushers I honestly can’t think of much that I would like to change here. I loved the way that every single one of these guys performed last season. Wolfe did a great job for a rookie. He’s got nothing but time on his side to perfect his craft and become a true force against the pass. Woodyard had a phenomenal breakout year against the pass this season. It was certainly a blessing in disguise that our star D.J. Williams suffered a suspension this season which allowed us to tap into Woodyard’s true potential. Perhaps moving Williams into the MLB slot would alleviate some of the stress that we seem to be having at that position, more on that below. For now, lets take a look at some of the options for us to give our pass rushing corps some additional depth. As much as it stings to make this suggestion, Dannell Ellerbe from Baltimore is an UFA in a couple of months and I love the idea of potentially picking him up. Maybe playing with him at the MLB slot? That would bring this team a LOT of depth at the LB position and he’s someone that definitely isn’t afraid to lay the big hits.
This is the position on our defense I believe needs the most work. I’ve already thrown out the possibility of moving Williams to MLB or bringing in Dannell Ellerbe, but some interesting draft prospects are to hope that Manti Te’o drops far enough for us to snag him because of this whole girlfriend hoax thing or looking at drafting Alec Ogletree. Ogletree used to play safety, thus has a background in pass defense. He’s quick and has great pass rushing abilities to boot. I love the prospect of how he would fit in on this team, smack dab in the middle of some great vets to learn from and able to hone his pass rushing skills with the most lethal pass rush in the league.