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Published on 04/05/2011 at Tue Apr 05 12:10.
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Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley is one of the top defensive prospects in this year's draft. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

This week in Dove Valley, thirteen of Denver’s thirty allotted draft prospects are scheduled to meet with the Broncos’ top brass.

The meetings will give Coach John Fox a chance to get to know the players better and decide if they would be a good fit for the team and the direction the franchise is headed.

“These visits are an opportunity for us to get to know the prospects better personally and also gauge their football knowledge,” said Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway over twitter on Monday.

Among the players Denver will be bringing in to the team’s facility this week are Clemson Defensive End Da’Quan Bowers, Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley and Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller (who previously also conducted a private workout with the team).

Two other top defensive draft prospects are; LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, who has worked out for the team and is scheduled to visit with Denver and Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who did not conduct a private workout, but is going to visit Dove Valley.

Either of the five players mentioned above have the potential to contribute to the team’s defense instantly and become a disruptive force to opposing offenses’ for years to come.  With that said, Fairley has some wondering if his sudden production jump in 2010 makes him a one year wonder and whether Bower’s knee (which underwent surgery in January) makes him a potential draft bust.

It is also not even certain Denver will go defensive with the second overall pick, but that would be most logical.  If not for the current labor dispute, the most likely scenario would probably involve Denver trading back from number two and accumulating more draft selections.  That seems unlikely, however.

Despite the fact that Patrick Peterson — another top defensive prospect — is a press coverage/man cornerback and Denver will be playing a soft man/zone coverage scheme, several sources have noted that will not play a large role in Denver’s decision to pass on or draft Peterson.  The extremely talented Peterson would be able to adjust and play in any defensive scheme, similarly to what Champ Bailey has done over the past few seasons (although Bailey has clearly played at his highest level in zone coverages).

Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is easily one of the best defensive prospects in the draft and the best tackle available, as has been written redundantly on this blog over the past few months.  The 2010 BCS National Championship Defensive MVP, Dareus weighs in at 319 pounds and measures 6 foot, three inches, that’s a big defensive tackle – just what Denver is in severe need of.

Sometimes compared to Elvis Dumervil due to his size and pass rushing abilities, Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller’s biggest weakness is his 3-4 defensive collegiate scheme.  Due in part because he struggles in run support, there have been grumblings about Miller not being able to make the transation to a pure 4-3 outside linebacker.  However, his remarkable athleticism and closing speed could help him make the switch.  There is also the possililty of him moving to defensive end in Denver’s scheme.  Obviously the Broncos have some confidence that Miller would fit in a 4-3, or they wouldn’t be meeting with him.

Peterson and Dareus appear to be the front-runners among the Broncos’ prospects.  Nevertheless, one of them may not be available when Denver is on the clock.  The Broncos’ Big Board will lose one of it’s players after the Carolina Panthers select first overall.  The question is, where is that player ranked on Denver’s board and if he is on top, who is the next best player?

  • http://profiles.google.com/joshheath88 Josh Heath

    I hope they don't draft Bowers! You can't draft an injured player with the second overall pick. Denver has a habit lately of drafting injured players in the first round….. Moreno is a good back, WHEN he is healthy. Thomas looks like a promising receiver, WHEN he is healthy. We can't gamble again on an injured player. I hope they take Dareus, Miller, or even Peterson (Bailey is not going to last forever).

  • http://nation.theorangepage.com/blog Ian Henson

    Cross both Bowers and Fairley off the list. The selection comes between three players: Peterson, Dareus and Miller. You can even cross Miller off, as some of us hope that Miller is in fact in play, he's simply not.

    That leaves Peterson and Dareus, my brain says Dareus, but my heart hopes Peterson, but as Jon pointed out one of these two could be off the board (and I whole heartedly doubt that it is Peterson with Carolina's number one pick).

    So the only chance Denver has at Peterson is if the Panthers select Dareus.

  • 5280

    which their not going to do so its gonna be dareus and we should be happey with that.

  • Doom92

    You know I have said for a very long time that I would not only hate it if they took Peterson but truly believe it needs to be an “up front” pick.

    However I've turned a bit and I have to admit that I think Peterson would be solid for a long time and he and champ could change games together. Wouldn't that be something, teams actually throwing on Champ because he doesn't caver as well any more, Maybe, as the new kid. I think Darrent Williams was headed there.

    I would be pretty stoked with Peterson or Dareus. I was also pretty high on Bowers early on but I have to agree with Josh, picking another hurt guy in the 1st just seems Ludacrisp (not to be confused with Super Sugar Crisp) ;-).

  • http://nation.theorangepage.com/blog Ian Henson

    Cross both Bowers and Fairley off the list. The selection comes between three players: Peterson, Dareus and Miller. You can even cross Miller off, as some of us hope that Miller is in fact in play, he's simply not.

    That leaves Peterson and Dareus, my brain says Dareus, but my heart hopes Peterson, but as Jon pointed out one of these two could be off the board (and I whole heartedly doubt that it is Peterson with Carolina's number one pick).

    So the only chance Denver has at Peterson is if the Panthers select Dareus.

  • 5280

    which their not going to do so its gonna be dareus and we should be happey with that.

  • Doom92

    You know I have said for a very long time that I would not only hate it if they took Peterson but truly believe it needs to be an “up front” pick.

    However I've turned a bit and I have to admit that I think Peterson would be solid for a long time and he and champ could change games together. Wouldn't that be something, teams actually throwing on Champ because he doesn't caver as well any more, Maybe, as the new kid. I think Darrent Williams was headed there.

    I would be pretty stoked with Peterson or Dareus. I was also pretty high on Bowers early on but I have to agree with Josh, picking another hurt guy in the 1st just seems Ludacrisp (not to be confused with Super Sugar Crisp) ;-).