It’s all or nothing for the Broncos.
And many are saying that it’s a win-win situation for Denver because the only team ahead of them will likely take a quarterback, and also because they will have their choice of one of the four legitimate blue-chip players in this draft: Patrick Peterson, Von Miller, Marcell Dareus and Nick Fairley.
With any of those names, the Broncos should be winners.
I disagree. And I can count at least five reasons why the Broncos should draft Von Miller, the linebacker out of Texas A&M.
1. The Broncos were 4-12 last season. They are a bad team who needs a superstar, not just a very good player.
Von Miller is the complete package. He has great character, freak athleticism and blazing speed for a linebacker. He is smart, mature and a great candidate to be the face of this franchise. Miller has drawn comparisons to Derrick Thomas, and for good reason; he has many of the same abilities and intangibles that the late, great Thomas had. Miller can get after the quarterback on a consistent basis, and that can help disguise other concern areas on the defense.
And most importantly, Von Miller just looks like the kind of player that can be a perennial pro-bowler in five years. We can say that with more certainty than we can about any of the other names that the Broncos are considering.
2. Drafting a defensive tackle in the first round is risky business.
In last year’s draft two very dominant defensive tackles were taken early: Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy. Suh was the closest thing to can’t-miss, and all the experts realized that, and McCoy was also given very high grades. Both seem to be players that can live up to their high expectations. Both Suh and McCoy are an exception, not the norm.
The Cleveland Browns found out first-hand what drafting defensive tackles early can mean to your franchise if the players don’t play to their potential, when they drafted Courtney Brown in 2000 and Gerard Warren in 2001. Both players were absolute busts for the Browns.
Defensive tackles like Marcell Dareus are so big and athletic that they are highly desired by GMs, but the big question mark on that kind of player is will he work hard and keep that same kind of drive going into the pros. If not, then the end result could be very bad for the Broncos.
There is just too much uncertainty with that position, so it’s a much easier choice to make if you look at defensive tackles in the second or third round. The fact that this year’s draft is loaded with great defensive tackles makes it easier to pass on Dareus or Fairley, and play the waiting game instead.
3. Elvis Dumervil is great, but who else will be a pass rusher on this defense?
Elvis Dumervil is getting back to playing shape, and can be counted on as a great pass rusher. However, he put up his best numbers as a linebacker, not as a defensive end, so it’s likely that there will be some drop off in sacks and tackles.
Robert Ayers is being moved to the other end position, and while that is his natural position, Ayers is a player that is firmly on the bubble going into this season. He has shown glimpses of a guy who can be explosive, disruptive and a solid tackler, but he still remains a big question mark.
Coach John Fox has hinted that he may use his safeties in more deep coverage sets, rather than use a guy like Dawkins at the line, at times blitzing the quarterback. So, who else, other than Dumervil, can be expected to apply pressure on the quarterback, consistently?
The Broncos need play-makers. They need someone that can help Dumervil, and Von Miller is the perfect fit for that role.
4. The Broncos understand that character is not everything, but it is something.
The Broncos are thankful that Brandon Marshall is now the Dolphins problem, and they drafted guys like Tim Tebow and Demarius Thomas, at least in part, because of high character. But there is a happy medium here. If there is a player with a lot of question marks, i.e. Nick Fairley, it’s probably safe to pass him up in the first round, and for that matter, the second and third rounds too.
However, if you can find a player who is both a freak athlete and the kind of guy that you want representing your brand and logo, then you should probably draft him.
Miller is the perfect fit for the Broncos. He has shown loyalty and commitment to excellence; loyalty and selflessness by putting his name on the legal case against the NFL, and standing shoulder to shoulder with veteran players as a sign of solidarity and respect; commitment to excellence by quickly becoming the top linebacker, if not the top player overall, in college football. He interviews well, projects himself in a positive and professional manner and will likely be a person who is highly regarded in his community.
The last part cannot be stressed enough: If you live in Colorado, you should know how much fans adore iconic players like John Elway, Terrell Davis, Steve Atwater, Shannon Sharpe, John Lynch, and so on.
Von Miller would be a fantastic Broncos player, and someone that could really inspire teammates and fans alike.
5. Someone needs to tackle Philip Rivers really, really hard.
Ladies and gentleman, I give you Von Miller, the Denver Broncos selection with the #2 pick in the NFL Draft.