Patrick Peterson at this year's scouting combine
After the dismal 4-12 season that the Denver Broncos had in 2010, they now find themselves with the second overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft.
As noted by other commentators here on Bleacher Report, the Broncos have at least a few options regarding this pick. They could trade down, as many have suggested, or they could go ahead and use the pick and draft a player.
If they go ahead with the latter, choices seem to come down to either Patrick Peterson, Da'Quan Bowers, Nick Fairley, Marcell Dareus or possibly Von Miller.
Barring a total surprise from Elway and Co. on draft day, these five are the most likely choices.
Broncos' fans deserve to have a well-balanced, reasoned analysis of these possible choices, and that is what this slideshow will seek to accomplish.
Some view Patrick Peterson of LSU as the best possible option in this year's draft for the Broncos. Widely regarded as the "safe" pick, he is considered a tremendous athlete because of his speed and quickness and his size.
He ran a 4.34 40-yd dash at the combine and also was able to post a 10'6 broad jump and post 15 reps on the bench press. He is considered by many to be what is called a "shutdown" corner, meaning that he has good instincts around the football and has an ability to make the big play.
There are not very qualms from anyone about this guy. He is probably the safest selection for the Broncos.
Marcell Dareus is also regarded by many Broncos fans as a good choice. At 6-foot-3 and 319 pounds, he is aptly-suited physically for his position at defensive tackle for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
He also has versatility and can play in a 3-4, 4-3, or hybrid scheme. For his size, he has a great degree of quickness, having run the 40 at less than 5.0 seconds. He is also regarded by many as an all-around nice guy, so that would ease a lot of individuals' minds about his character.
The one knock that some might have against him might be that he only recorded 4.5 sacks last year. However, this is an un-inflated statistic because his main duties were double-teaming and stuffing the run, not QB pressure.
Last year for Clemson Da'Quan Bowers recorded an impressive NCAA-leading 15.5 sacks last year. The kid has a lot of potential, but.....
He also had an unfortunate, and ill-timed, surgery for an injury to his right knee for a small tear in his miniscus. Obviously, there then is some question as to whether he can come back in full form for his rookie season in the NFL. However, a few defense-needy NFL teams will probably be willing to take the risk.
Nick Fairley is the fourth option for the Denver Broncos, should they decide to keep the second pick. Like Bowers, Fairley is also a pick that could be risky, but could be rewarding as well.
Fairley has a lot of athleticism and speed, registering 60 tackles and 11.5 sacks for Auburn a year ago. The downside would be his anger issues, which might eventually get him into trouble with the NFL Head Office and Mr. Goodell.
Von Miller is another possibility. He has a great work ethic at his position of defensive end. He had 68 tackles, 11 sacks and an interception last year.
Couple that with great speed (a 4.49 in the 40), and Von Miller is another strong consideration for the Broncos.
There's absolutely no telling what these three will do.
In summary, there are a lot of interesting possibilities for the Broncos having the highest pick they have had in over two decades. There is no telling what might happen.
In fact, the front office may decide to trade the second pick for more later picks. They might even decide to draft a quarterback (although I doubt it, but that would be a kicker).
For all we know they might even draft a tight end with this second pick. There is simply no telling, but I imagine they will go defense.