With the recent news that Kevin Vickerson suffered a dislocated hip and will be out for the season, the Broncos are forced to find a new strategy defensively.
That strategy will most certainly involve 2013 first round pick, former North Carolina star defensive tackle Sylvester Williams. Williams has been a gameday inactive a few times for the Broncos this season, which is interesting considering the coaches’ preference for defensive linemen.
The Broncos have a lot of guys that rotate at the defensive tackle spots, but no two players have seen more time on the field than starters Terrance Knighton and the now injured Vickerson.
According to the team’s official site, Knighton has played the most snaps of any Broncos’ defensive tackle at 51.1 percent (412 snaps), and Vickerson was right behind him with 390 snaps.
Interestingly enough–but not surprising due to the inactive games–the rookie out of UNC Williams has played in just 136 snaps this season, the lowest of any Denver defensive tackle. The third most snaps on the team have gone to Mitch Unrein, who has been a key reserve for the Broncos now for a couple of years. Unrein has played 222 snaps this season in 11 games.
With Vickerson’s injury, Williams’ workload is going to increase significantly, and we’ve already seen some of that with him having played 40 percent of the defensive snaps against the Patriots last Sunday night.
Jack Del Rio alluded to the fact that Williams has been developing and working hard while he’s been slowly brought along, but that he simply hasn’t had his number called yet. That’s all changed now, and Williams will have an opportunity to show why the Broncos used a first round pick on him.