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Published on 06/26/2012 at Tue Jun 26 10:00.
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(Ed Andrieski/AP)

This offseason, we’re going to do a Speak Up series looking at each position (o-line, d-line, etc).  Today, we’re looking at the defensive line.

We want to know what you think the Denver Broncos‘ defensive line should look like this season.  Who should be the No. 3 DE, who should be the No. 1 DT?

Returning:  DE/DT Jason Hunter, DE/DT Robert Ayers, DE Jeremy Beal, DE Elvis Dumervil, DE Ben Garland*, DE Cyril Obiozor, DT Sealver Siliga, DT Mitch Unrein, DT/DE Kevin Vickerson and DT Ty Warren.

Acquired:  DT/DE Derek Wolfe, DE Malik Jackson,  DT/DE Justin Bannan and DE Jamie Blatnick.

*Garland was on military/injured reserve last season.

Last season, the Broncos defensive line saw a lot of different players coming in for different situations and that will likely be the case this year.  Rookie Siliga has gotten great minicamp reviews and Wolfe has practiced as a base defensive tackle and nickel defensive end.

In Denver’s base 4-3 defense, a rotation of Ayers, Dumervil, Hunter and Garland at defensive end seems likely.  At defensive tackle, a rotation of Warren, Vickerson, Wolfe and Bannan may be installed.

In their nickel defense, a rotation of Miller, Dumervil, Wolfe, Hunter and Unrein at defensive end is an option.  With a rotation of Warren, Ayers, Vickerson and Bannan at defensive tackle.

Those projections are mine and mine alone and come before training camp/preseason, meaning they are subject to change and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the rest of the BT staff.  Now it’s your turn, what line-up are you projecting for Denver’s defensive line this season?

Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments!

What should the Broncos D-line look like in '12

View Results

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  • Michael Gibbons

    I don’t understand why Wolfe kicks out in passing situations isn’t dumervil and miller our edge rushers. I thought we drafted Wolfe to improve interior rush? Any clarification would be appreciated!

  • TheTroglodyte

    Miller is a LB not a DE so either Denver will be bringing an extra guy or will only have a 3 man front.

  • Jon

    I accidentally did a duplicate comment here. Just removed it.

  • Jon

    Last season Miller moved to DE (well, he became the last man on the LOS) on certain passing situations (often in nickel defensive sets). I expect Miller and Dumervil will be the main “ends” in nickel sets this season.

    As for Wolfe, Michael, the Broncos may feel that Warren and Bannan (or Vickerson or Siliga) give them the best interior pass rush (none of those four players contributed inside last season) so they may be moving Wolfe to DE in nickel sets in order to find a way to get him on the field while keeping the best interior rushers (Warren, Bannan or whoever they pick) on the field, too.

    The team used a lot of 5-2 looks last season, with Miller coming down to the outside in addition to the four defensive lineman. In that type of situation, it could be something like “Miller, Wolfe, Warren, Bannan, Dumervil” on the LOS.

    This way, Denver keeps their best defensive lineman on the field by moving some of the players around.

  • Michael Gibbons

    Yeah I can see that but I would like to see ayers and Wolfe as interior rushers at times ayers did well against Pittsburgh interior line.(although it was considered one of the worse with pouncey)

  • TheTroglodyte

    Great explanation! The problem with lining Miller up as a 3-4 LB with just 2 DE’s at the line is it leaves draw plays wide open. I know they got away with that a few times last year but I would imagine teams will have an audible on hand for that setup this year.

  • Jon

    @facebook-513207055:disqus and @TheTroglodyte:disqus,

    We’ll probably see Wolfe and Ayers inside rushing on occasion this season. We won’t really know for sure what Denver’s plans are until preseason/the regular season. When we can get our hands on some game film Denver’s plans for Wolfe/Ayers will become more clear.

    Trog, I agree. In those situations, the offense usually has to go a long distance for a first down though. With that being the case, draw plays aren’t usually very effective, even against just two linebackers. I don’t know though, 5-2 is a low risk/high reward tactic IMO when used at the right time (i.e. 3rd and ten).

  • jdkchem

    Doom – Warren – Bannan – Wolfe

  • DougEngland

    This is somewhat of a cop out… but I think it is impossible to say how even the most basic D-line will look.
    The AFC South tried to combat Manning by playing keep away. They would just keeping running the ball, trying to grind out first downs and keep the clock running.
    If the Bronco offense immediately becomes as effective as i believe it will, it will be interesting to see if other teams adapt the keep away strategy. if they do the space eaters like Siligia will be all the more important. I expect every defensive tackle that makes the team will see considerable action everygame.

  • Big_Pete

    Well, I’m hoping that it’s Ayers, Warren, Wolfe, Dumervil.

    If it is, it means that Warren is 100%, and last time I checked, when Warren is at 100%, he’s an All-Pro. It would also mean that Dume is his normal self and that Ayers is progressing the way we all hoped he would when we drafted him. Remember, this is only going to be Ayers’ 2nd year at his natural position, so I’m willing to give him a longer rope than I otherwise would for a 4th year player (or is it 5th?).

    This would also mean that we swung on and hit with the Wolfe pick. Like us moving out of the 1st or not; like us drafting Wolfe that high or not, if you get a quality starter, it doesn’t matter where you pick the guy, it’s a great pick.

    If it shakes out like that, then our D-Line will be stellar, and it will make Miller even more flexible/impactful, which is hard to imagine. Lets hope that everyone stays healthy, hits camp in shape, and gel quickly. If our DL has that starting line the whole year, its hard to imagine us finishing any worse than a 12-4 team, assuming Manning stays healthy. With very rare exception, Defense still wins championships, and a quality defense starts front to back, inside to out. We have the makings of a fantastic defense. Let’s all be optimistic fans and trust in this team until/unless they give us a reason not to!


  • Ahmad Washington

    I like the whole idea of Vickerson at 335lbs now and with Wolfe as a middle pass rush presence that would be a nightmare for defenses

  • TheTroglodyte

    Yeah I think you are 98% right. 3 & 10 it’s going to be a pass. But 3 & 15… there are teams like New England who have made a decade out of converting those situations on the draw. There are probably more RB’s in the East that are more likely to do it but Ray Rice, C.J. Spiller, Foster, Johnson, Jones-Drew, & Richardson would absolutely destroy that line and with 1 missed tackle would likely be gone for 20 – 30 yard gain. But as you said we aren’t going to have any idea what it will look like until at least pre-season and even at that as I think you also alluded too, the real schemes will likely be hidden until regular season. No matter what, it should be interesting!

  • TheTroglodyte

    Did you mean without?

  • Jon

    Good point, Trog. We’ll see when the season rolls around. It will certainly be interesting!

  • Mike Birtwistle

    I don’t care who starts!
    For the first time in years, I can see depth and options on the Line. And most of it will be rotation – anyway. How did teams beat the Broncos last year? Made them play Nickel and take Bunk off the field. So having some depth is a good thing.
    Ok, so for the first depth chart I’m predicting:
    Doom, Siliga, Bannan, Ayres.

  • eljbow

    At the start of the season I see the base defense as Doom/Warren/Bannan/Ayers with Vick as the 3 DT and Wolfe as the 3 DE. Nickel is a bit different as I think it would be Doom/Wolfe/Ayers/Miller on the front line. Of course, we are a ways off from training camp where it will all take shape.

  • Mergrath

    I see in stone:

    Doom at end…but that’s it!

    I think it’s way too early to take a poke at this one. I know, I know it’s just for fun. But, based off of reports Siliga has been outstanding and I’d love for an under the radar/developmental player to surprise us all finally!

    With that said I see this happening (which if you have seen my mock drafts then you know it’s NOT going to happen!)

    Doom / Siliga / Warren / Ayers 1st-2nd down

    Doom / Ayers / Wolfe / Hunter on 3rd down passing distance

    I see our line being heavy on rotation which will be good for keeping guys fresh.

  • Ricky Hardesty

    In my personal opinion i think they’d be smart to have Wolfe as a DE for
    the base defense and as a tackle in the nickel defense.

    So for base defense id see Doom, Vickerson, Warren, Wolfe with Siliga
    and Bannan as the back up DT’s and Ayers and Hunter as back up DE’s

    For their Nickel package I’d like to see Doom, Ayers, Wolfe, Miller, With Hunter and Malik Jackson as primary DT back ups

  • robtink242

    I think we got something going on here.. the key back to the playoffs is winning the division and we need to keep pressure on Rivers, and Palmer to keep them throwing pics.. not worried about KC QB play