NFL Draft 2011: Backup Plans to Miller, Peterson and Dareus for Denver Broncos

Rob GregoryCorrespondent IIApril 28, 2011

SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 22:  A Denver Bronco fan cheers during the NFL football game against  San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on November 22, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos have a big decision to make tonight, and if they had the choice between taking one or all three of their top prospects–Von Miller, Patrick Peterson and Marcell Dareus—they would choose the latter. But back to the real world, and the choice between what seems like three outstanding football players that could each have an immediate and significant impact on this team.

Sure, they will get one of these players, barring a trade, but what other names should they consider. Or rather, if the pass on Von Miller, who is another good linebacker that they can then target in the 2nd, 3rd, or even 6th round?

Let’s look at some options.

If the Broncos pass on Von Miller, then the team should look at drafting...

Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois.

A lot of people might want to put Dontay Moch here because Moch has blazing speed like Miller, and would be a nice pass rusher, but there are concerns that he is very “stiff in the hips”, meaning he could be a Vernon Gholston clone. Moch might not be as good as a fit for the Broncos 4-3 defense, but Martez Wilson sure looks like he would.

Wilson is a great tackler, would fair better in coverage than guys like Moch, and even Von Miller for that matter, and has great speed and overall athleticism. He’s not the easiest person to throw over because of his speed, height (6-4) and really long arms. He’s also a playmaker--perhaps not at the level of Von Miller—but he can be very disruptive and can create turnovers.

Martez may not have the same kind of star power as a Von Miller, but he has the potential to be as good as DJ Williams, if not better. The Broncos still have questions at linebacker, so Wilson would be a really nice selection if he fell to the 2nd round.

If the Broncos pass on Marcell Dareus, then the team might consider...

Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State.

Marvin Austin is another name to consider, and I really love Austin’s upside, but Paea could have the same kind of upside, without similar downside (Austin is only ranked as a 2nd round guy because of “character issues”, though I tend to think that some of that is unwarranted).

Paea is just a mammoth defender, and his speciality is stuffing the run. The Broncos were shredded last season by good run teams, so Paea would be a wonderful addition. Paea is a former rugby player; he’s  athletic, very strong, and has a great burst at the line of scrimmage. The one area of concern is his ability to consistently pressure the quarterback, but this is a guy who has not played football as long as others, yet has already made major strides to become a dominant player. If you look at his statistics and development in college, it’s not hard to imagine Paea developing into a more well-rounded tackle for the Denver Broncos.

He’s big, and he plays even bigger.

If the Broncos pass on Patrick Peteron, then a good Plan B would be...

Well, Ras-I Dowling is a good Plan C. There are concerns about injuries to his legs, and that reminds me a lot of another tall, athletic guy, the Broncos Demarius Thomas.

A good Plan B would instead be Brandon Harris from Miami. Harris does not have the size as the other top cornerbacks (Patrick Peterson, Prince Amukamara and Jimmy Smith), but he has a lot of the same athleticism and ability in coverage.  Harris would be a nice cornerback to develop under the tutelage of Champ Bailey. Harris just has a lot of speed and athleticism, excels in man coverage and is not afraid to play physical against bigger receivers. He is also reliable in run support, though he can become even better at that by playing with Champ Bailey.

Harris is also a “high character guy”, so the Broncos wouldnt have to worry about off-field issues; they already have that with Perrish Cox.

So, yes there is Miller, Peterson and Dareus. That’s Plan A,

But there should also be Wilson, Paea and Harris.

Better known as Plan B.