The lack of a strong defense cost the Broncos in the Super Bowl. They did a good job of containing running back Marshawn Lynch, but quarterback Russell Wilson had all day to throw.
This team needs to add talent to the front seven of the defense. They can’t rely on linebacker Von Miller coming back from the knee injury he suffered in Week 16. His status for training camp is up in the air.
Derek Wolfe suffered a mysterious illness that cut his second season short. The Broncos need to continue adding talent up front to create a fierce rotation.
Denver will also rely on linebackers they added from the college ranks last year. Quanterus Smith missed his rookie year recovering from the knee injury he suffered during the 2012 season for Western Kentucky. Lerentee McCray impressed during training camp, but he was lost for the year in the final preseason game with a thumb injury.
You can never have enough pass-rushers, and that is a mantra the Broncos should follow in free agency and the draft.
In addition to rushing the passer, the team needs a player to replace Robert Ayers. There’s a good chance Ayers will explore his options in free agency, and he could have played his final down with the Broncos.
And the pick is…
“With the 31st pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Denver Broncos select Stanford defensive end Trent Murphy.”
Murphy is a player who has the strength to set the edge as a run defender. He can stand up to rush the passer, and Murphy shows a good understanding of leverage when going after the quarterback.
I was disappointed by his performance during the week of practice for the 2014 Reese’s Senior Bowl earlier this year. Murphy seemed to get winded easily, and he failed to show the ability to fight through two blockers consistently.
The end of the first round is the time to look for impact players. The Broncos could take a chance that Murphy would fall to them in the second round, but it’s not worth the risk. The best bet is to go ahead and take him here, securing his services with a premium pick.