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Published on 04/14/2008 at Mon Apr 14 08:00.
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Part two of today’s position breakdown: why the Denver Broncos should NOT choose a defensive end in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

No area has been addressed as heavily in the past two years of the draft as the defensive line. The Denver Broncos found a diamond in the rough in Elvis Dumervil in the 4th round of the 2006 draft. If you consider the 3rd round pick they used to trade up last year, three day one picks were used at the same position in 2007. Will the Broncos really be using consecutive first rounders at the same position? It’s not impossible, but at face value seems unlikely.

The biggest question is whether the Broncos even need a defensive end. Jarvis Moss was starting to play better before his season-ending injury. He even admits that the pro game slowed down for him, and all indications are that he should be coming back strong and completely healed in 2008. Tim Crowder played well – at times our best run defender on the defensive line – and will likely start this year. We also brought back Ebenezer Ekuban, our best defensive end in 2006. Josh Mallard played well at both DE and DT, and John Engelberger, while not necessarily a fan favorite, is a hard worker and high character guy that adds valuable depth if Moss, Crowder, or Ekuban get hurt (hopefully he’s not a starter again in 08).

As you can see, the Broncos are fairly deep at defensive end. The need is much, much greater at positions like offensive tackle and defensive tackle, where the roster barely goes 3-deep.

If the Broncos draft based on need, defensive end will be low on the totem pole. If they take the road of best player available, and Derrick Harvey is staring them straight in the face, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear them call his name at 12th overall.