Denver Broncos should consider double dipping at linebacker in 2021
Linebacker appears to be one of the most glaring needs for the Denver Broncos after the initial wave of free agency.
Double dipping is appropriate only for those who deem it appropriate. As such, the linebacker position in this draft is so deep that Denver would be wise to add multiple players in that group.
If Denver is serious about making the best possible defensive product on the field, then the best course of action may be looking at the top-end linebacker talent early in this draft. A lot of credit goes to my friend Mario Vetanze for this idea to be considered by Denver Broncos. He stopped by my podcast The Manely Broncos Podcast to discuss that and more.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made it obvious a defense needs two elite-level linebackers capable of doing everything exceptionally well. Lavonte David and Devin White are considered the best duo at linebacker in the NFL. David and White do exceptionally well in coverage and speed to help in the run game.
Thankfully there are those kinds of players in this draft if Denver decided to double up at linebacker. Denver did it at wide receiver in the 2020 Draft. It would not surprise me if they did it again.
For Denver to do this they will need to capitalize early on both day one and day two. Maybe it was not a plan going in to draft to take two wide receivers back-to-back but it helped turned a weak offensive position into a strength overnight.
There are few players at linebacker who make sense for Denver Broncos if they decided to double-dip at linebacker. Let’s start first with Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
Owusu-Koramoah is an elite athlete who is a Swiss Army Knife capable of playing three different positions at least on defense. If Denver’s head coach Vic Fangio can’t make Owusu-Koramoah fit then he’s not a fit. The prospect from Notre Dame is quick, instinctual, and fast. Mix all three with his capability to rush, cover, and run defend it makes him an intriguing fit with Fangio.
In a defense that is tasked with stopping Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce and Las Vegas Raiders Darren Waller, Denver needs all hands on deck.
Next up is Zaven Collins out of Tulsa. Collins a true linebacker who played quarterback and safety in high school. Collins has unbelievable power, instincts and speed for a linebacker. The amount of skill and speed he presents makes him an ideal player for the new NFL to play linebacker.
Collins won the Bronko Nagurski Award for the best defensive player in the country. There is exceptional athleticism where Denver could find him in the early ’20s to the end of first round.
The other option at linebacker is a big-time playmaking defensive linebacker from LSU in Jabril Cox. Cox is an exceptional, game-changing, turnover machine at linebacker. He is always around the football for someone and has enough instincts to rack up tackles. Cox may be my favorite option of the bunch.
One of the last ones early on my radar is Cameron McGrone. The linebacker from Michigan is exceptional like the others with sideline to sideline speed. Put in both how instinctual he is at the position and he’s a dynamic defender. There’s so much athleticism and read/react with McGrone that he jumps off the page like the others.
Inconsistencies are certainly worrisome but McGrone has enough ability for Fangio to turn him into the next great linebacker. He is capable of being a special player.
All four of these players are just a few at linebacker who brings so much versatility at the position that the intrigue of doubling up may be hard to pass up. Even if Denver did not go back-to-back at linebacker it would be smart to take two of them in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Both starting linebackers Alexander Johnson and Josey Jewell are slated for free agency in 2022. Special teams linebacker Josh Watson will be a restricted free agent in 2022. The linebacker position is poised to look entirely different come next year. Thus bringing potential intrigue for adding more linebackers to that group this season.
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As such, double-dipping in this case seems appropriate.