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Published on 04/18/2008 at Fri Apr 18 09:35.
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[D.J. Williams]

The BroncoTalk breakdowns continue, and today we’re tackling linebackers (instead of the other way around). We’ll tell you why we should draft one in the first round, why we shouldn’t, and then ask you in the polls. Enjoy!

If there’s one position the Denver Broncos and Mike Shanahan have simply nailed as far as first rounders are concerned, it’s linebacker. They’ve spent 3 first round picks on this position, as many as any other position in Shanahan’s tenure, and each one became great players for the Broncos. John Mobley, Al Wilson, and D.J. Williams are among some of the biggest success stories in the last decade of Broncos drafts, so drafting a linebacker would follow a road to success the Broncos haven’t necessarily enjoyed in other years past.

With the Broncos’ piss poor run defense last year, the argument is strong that drafting a highly talented linebacker would improve this defense from the start. While the Broncos added a few pieces to the linebacker corps, one is a career backup and the other has serious health concerns. Arguably the need is there.

Even if the impact isn’t for this year, the Broncos need to address the linebacker position soon. This is Williams’ last year under contract, and while the franchise tag is always a possibility, some speculate that Williams might be looking for greener pastures elsewhere after being moved all around the football field. He’s played every position possible as a linebacker, and even admitted that he was frustrated to an extent about the constant shuffle. It’s important to note too, though, that D.J. was clear to praise the Broncos team and coaches, and also spun it nicely by saying it allowed him to do a lot of learning at the pro level. Will he be willing to resign? This offseason would be the ideal time to do it.

So the question I’m asking is this: Are the Broncos certain they have a single stud at LB, not this year, but in 2009? Break it down with me. D.J. isn’t under contract past February 09… Niko Koutouvides has upside, but that’s about it without seeing the field yet… Boss Bailey is an athletic freak of nature, but injury concerns are valid… worst case scenario, D.J. hits free agency, Bailey busts his knees, and Kouts doesn’t quite cut it. I’m not betting on this to happen by any means, but looking at each situation individually, is it so hard to believe some of these events will occur?

The point is that the Broncos can’t be sure any of the linebackers on their roster are long term answers toward a championship team. The quickest way to change that, especially considering how the Broncos draft so well in the area, would be to take a linebacker in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

  • Adam

    I’ll bet we see them draft a linebacker, but will it come before round 3? I doubt it. It’s hard for me to imagine them not using their first two (or three) picks on either a RB, a DT, or an OT.

  • Jordan

    Keith Rivers would be great to have, but he’s going to be long gone at 12. With so many question marks, they should look at a linebacker that could fit in at any of the three positions. Curtis Lofton, a smart, extremely athletic guy and a natural leader, would be available in round 2 and Jordan Dizon would be good fit from the third or fourth rounds. Both would be great on special teams as well.

  • Barto51

    I have two names to consider here, both are middle LB’s. The first one is Jonathan Goff from Vanderbilt. To get Goff Denver will have to probably use it’s 2nd round pick. The other guy I think would fit perfect in Denver’s 3-4 defense and a guy I have seen play in person is Beau Bell from UNLV. This guys is an animal as long as he is healed up from his Senior Bowl injury Denver could probably get him with their first 4th round pick. I don’t think they need to wast a first round pick on this position. However if they feel they need to pick a LB with their first round pick then I would say go for the best Rivers from USC or Morgan from Penn State.

  • mikebirty

    Back in January I thought the Broncos were a lock to pick a LB in round one. They’ve done it before, with success, and it was a position of need. With the off season signings I’m not so sure.