One position that hasn’t been mocked much to the Broncos in the first round this year is defensive tackle, mainly because the Broncos have seemingly more glaring needs at other positions like cornerback or linebacker.
However, when you take a deeper look at how the Broncos’ roster is structured, it’s easy to see that defensive tackle could be the pick for the second straight year for this team, and we shouldn’t be surprised by it.
As it currently stands, the five defensive tackles on the Broncos’ roster are Terrance Knighton, Kevin Vickerson, Sylvester Williams, Mitch Unrein, and Sione Fua.
Knighton, though he emerged as a star player in 2013, has just one year left on his contract. Will the Broncos be able to afford keeping him around with some of the other players due big contract extensions?
Kevin Vickerson, coming off of a major injury that ended his 2013 season prematurely, is also entering the final year of his contract and is 31 years of age.
Sly Williams was the team’s top pick in 2013, so he’ll be around a while, and Mitch Unrein is a solid backup. Fua was signed during last season when some injuries happened, so we’ll see if he’s going to ultimately make the team this year.
With the contract situations of Knighton and Vickerson, as well as the injury concerns over the latter, the Broncos could very well look to a long-term replacement at defensive tackle if the right player falls to that 31st overall pick in the draft.
Players like Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson are capable of playing inside on passing downs at the defensive tackle position, but the Broncos know all too well that that is not an area where you want to have any type of glaring need. It was a position they needed to address for a long time, and John Elway has come in and done a great job of finally doing so.
With players like Timmy Jernigan, Louis Nix, Ra’Shede Hageman, Stephon Tuitt, and even Dominique Easley being potentially available in the late portion of the first round, there will be plenty of potential on the board for the Broncos to consider taking another disruptive force at the DT position this year.