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Two of the three linebacker spots appear to be already wrapped up before the first preseason game even gets underway. Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2011, Von Miller maintains a stranglehold on the strong-side linebacker position, and the organization looks for him to continue to improve in 2012.
The Broncos also made a deal earlier this offseason to keep middle linebacker Joe Mays in Denver for another three seasons. He has shown that he was worth it as he's secured the starting spot for the preseason opener and has spent most of his offseason with the first-team defense.
The biggest question mark going into training camp this offseason was D.J. Williams’ status. He was suspended for six games this season after testing positive for performance-enhancing drug use, which has been upheld after a failed appeal and will begin on the team’s season opener with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Wesley Woodyard looked to be the team’s heir apparent while Williams serves his suspension until the Denver Broncos signed the 36-year old Keith Brooking to the roster. Brooking’s experience and accolades (five-time Pro Bowler) were probably the biggest reason he was brought in
The Denver Post’s Mike Klis reports, “Don’t be surprised if Brooking becomes the starter in the 4-3 base while Wesley Woodyard and rookie Danny Trevathan compete for the nickel linebacker position.” It looks like Brooking’s chances, even though he isn’t even listed on the depth chart, are great—as long as he can prove he hasn’t lost a step.
First-string: Von Miller
Second-string: Nate Irving
Third-string: Jerry Franklin
First-string: Joe Mays
Second-string: Mike Mohamed
Third-string: Steven Johnson
First-string: D.J. Williams (Suspended for first six games of regular season)
Second-string: Wesley Woodyard
Third-string: Danny Trevathan
Other: Eliot Coffey
Not listed: Keith Brooking