Now that the 2010 NFL draft is near, the Broncos could land their last piece of the puzzle to once again have an "orange crush" type defense. Last year the Broncos not only changed from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4 hybrid, they changed personnel, coaches and philosophy.
The defense started out good but could not continue after their bye week. Mike Nolan did a great job in trying to build cohesion between the players and teach them their new positions but there were too many inexperienced players in that type of defense. So this year McDaniel’s and Martindale try to build from what they had last year and bring in season veterans to build their defense.
Their first move was to assemble a defensive line which is the key ingredient to a 3-4 defense. They started with grabbing one of Wayne's key players when he coached in San Diego, Jamal Williams the NT which is the anchor of the defense. Jamal brings with him a heavy pedigree with three Pro Bowls and two all pro selections. He will bring the tenacity back to the position the way Rubin Carter did back in the 70's.
Now that they have Jamal to anchor their defense they added two key personnel to stop the run with bringing in Justin from the Ravens and Jarvis Green from the Patriots. Both players’ former teams were hoping that they could resign them but Denver looked more appealing. These DE's bring leadership and knowledge of playing their positions in a 3-4 defense.
Remember a 3-4 defensive end has a lot on their plate; they have to stop the run and create pressure without getting out of position. The defensive ends that Denver had last year a lot of times got caught out of position because they were still learning the system and lacked depth in their rotation. Marcus Thomas will fit better as a DE now that Jamal, Fields, and Baker can handle the NT position. McBean played good against the run last year and can learn from the newly acquired players.
The defensive line will help the secondary be the best in the NFL. One year working with each other will help them know how they play the pass and not get caught in a bad situation. The Broncos' secondary is equipped with future HOF's in Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins to lead by example and teach the younger players how to be elite defensive backs in the NFL. This secondary will create a lot of turnovers and be a nightmare for quarterbacks to try to pass against them.
With Gradishar and Jackson of old come Dumervil and DJ Williams. Doomsday is last year’s sack leader and this year will once again wreak havoc against the big tackles and the quarterbacks. DJ will once again be a tackling machine, 100 plus tackles and can still get out and cover a TE in the fly. Now, comes Ayers and Mario which I think is their weakness, Mario will move inside and Ayers will move into the starting lineup. My personal thoughts are that Mario should stay outside with Ayers, a backup, and in comes Rolando McClain from Alabama.
McClain can be a dominant defense player a Ray Lewis, Patrick Willis type linebacker. He already plays in a 3-4 defense and was the leader on the National Championship team last year. He will fit into the defense perfectly and complete the broncos crushing defense. With McClain, DJ, Dumervil, and Ayers that's a key core linebacking crew that will punish opposing offenses and create matchup problems week in and out. McClain has to be the Broncos' key ingredient in the draft because he has all the instincts, strength, leadership, and that "it" factor that not every player possesses.