The Denver Broncos have a whole slew of defensive tackles and linemen on their active roster, but most project to be three-technique defensive tackles. In layman’s terms, these tackles line up in the gap on the offensive guard’s outside shoulder.
However, a true nose tackle (who typically lines up over the center or slightly over one of the center’s shoulders) is a position that remains a big gaping hole in 2012.
The key to a great nose tackle is size and quickness. The best nose tackles are mostly used for stuffing the run at the line of scrimmage and pushing the pile into the quarterback’s lap. Before his season-ending triceps tear last offseason, the Broncos were banking on the 6’5”, 300-pound Ty Warren to become their beast in the middle.
Unfortunately, things changed and most of the season there was a “committee” of players manning the middle of the Broncos' defensive line and the results were mixed. This year, look for Sealver Siliga, a second-year player out of Utah, to vie for a spot at the heart of Denver’s defense.
Siliga is 6’2” and 307 pounds. While at Utah, he earned honorable mention All-MWC honors after two great seasons during his sophomore and junior seasons (2009-2010). He was initially signed to the San Francisco 49ers' squad last off-season, but spent about half of last season on the Broncos' practice squad.
Now, with a season of experience working out and getting to know the ropes in the NFL, the new defensive coordinator for the Broncos, Jack Del Rio, and head coach John Fox, both defensive masterminds, look for Siliga to move up the ranks and vie for his chance at nose tackle this season.
He faces, however, some stout competition as Ty Warren will be back this season, hopefully playing at a high level. The Broncos also signed Justin Bannan, another 300+ pound veteran who has taken his fair share of snaps at nose tackle.
The Denver Post’s Mike Klis has speculated that the Denver Broncos might also show some interest in Aubrayo Franklin, the best available nose tackle free agent. Franklin will be 32 years old in August and is a healthy 317 pounds.
Franklin is an unrestricted free agent until June 1 when he becomes a “street” free agent. Thus, it would not require a compensatory draft pick if he were acquired and the Broncos could utilize him as their starting nose tackle in 2012.
Siliga appears right now to be the Broncos' only “true” nose tackle on the roster. Throwing him in the fire to earn the starting job seems like the most logical course of action this off-season.