Posted Fri Aug 17th by Jon Heath
In the wake of D.J. Williams‘ looming suspension(s), the Denver Broncos must plug-in several players to fill the void at linebacker. In addition to special teams ace Wesley Woodyard, the Broncos will be giving increased workloads to a pair of young linebackers.
Youngsters Nate Irving (drafted 67th overall last year) and Danny Trevathan (drafted 188th overall in April) have been highly praised by their coaches and teammates, and Matt Russell, the team’s Director of Player Personnel (and unofficial G.M.) spoke especially highly of Trevathan earlier in the week. Both players measure up at 6-1, with Irving weighing eight pounds heavier at 240.
“Danny was an interesting story,” Russell told CBS4‘s Vic Lombardi, “he had a little bit of a hamstring (injury) when he ran his forty and he didn’t run a great time due to the injury and that caused him to slide on some team’s draft boards. We thought he was an excellent football player so when he was sitting their in the sixth round we felt very fortunate to get him.”
In camp, Trevathan has been starting in nickel packages at outside linebacker. Finding his way into the starting line-up was an impressive feat for the Danny, while Nate struggled to get onto the field during his rookie year.
Irving has since said that the speed of the game has slowed down for him and it has shown—he led the team with five tackles in their preseason opener against Chicago.
“My first year here, I can admit, I went out there and I was like, ‘Wow. It’s the NFL, (I’ve got a) big game ahead,’” Irving said. “I had butterflies and everything. This year, being through a year, going through the offseason and practicing, it was just like going out there and playing football again.”
Irving noted that he just ran around “hoping to do something right” during his rookie year, and now has a better understanding of the game.
“This year I know more about what I’m doing and I’m able to do it.”
Watch for Irving and Trevathan to spend time with the first and second team defensive units tomorrow night in the team’s preseason home opener. Both players are vying for playing time on a vastly improved Denver defense.
While many eyes will be on rookie defensive lineman Derek Wolfe, these two young linebackers deserve our attention as well. One—or both of them—could become a main part of Denver’s future linebacking corps that will feature Von Miller. With Williams suspended, that future unit may come together as early as the 2012 season.