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Starters: Derek Wolfe, Kevin Vickerson, Terrance Knighton, Jeremy Beal
Backups: Robert Ayers, Mitch Unrein, Sealver Siliga, Malik Jackson
Third String: Ben Garland (defensive end)
As Mike Klis of the Denver Post reported, it is now official that Elvis Dumervil will not be coming back to Denver, agreeing to a contract with the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Suddenly, a pass-rushing defensive end may be the Broncos' biggest need.
Derek Wolfe had a strong rookie season even though defensive tackle is his most natural position. Wolfe had 40 tackles to go along with six sacks on the year.
At the other end spot, it may seem surprising to see Jeremy Beal listed as the starter, but Robert Ayers is not the answer.
Beal is a former seventh-round selection of the Broncos but he was once considered one of the best defensive prospects in the nation in 2011. The Broncos may like what they have in him or even Malik Jackson. If not, why were they so quick to let Dumervil go?
Ayers has 6.5 sacks over his entire career, but he can be effective in certain situations. He is certainly not an every-down player, but if he is inserted at the right time, he can make a big play and that is how the Broncos need to use him.
At the tackle position, the signing of Terrance Knighton was a big one. It allows the team to move on from Justin Bannan, giving it a solid young player who is great in run defense and also has the ability to get after the quarterback.
Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio originally helped bring Knighton to the NFL in Jacksonville, so his signing makes sense for a lot of reasons. Del Rio will be able to get the most out of him.
Kevin Vickerson was re-signed (NBC Sports) to a two-year contract extension. With his ability to collapse the pocket, it allows guys like Wolfe and Von Miller to be that much more effective off the edge.
However, with the Dumervil news, it is almost certain the Broncos bring in a defensive end through free agency. Former Indianapolis Colts star Dwight Freeney would be a good bet at this point.