It seems in the past two to three years, the amount of talk and controversy that has surrounded the Denver Bronco organization has been abundant. From the moment long-time Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan was fired, the Broncos have been in flux. The Mistake Era, I mean McDaniels Era, saw the Broncos ship out the two best players on the team in Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. A 6-0 and start to the era was promising, but since the Broncos have been 6-16 and McDaniels was fired.
However, enough of the past, John Elway has taken the reigns, and his hand-chosen, right-hand man is ex-Carolina Panther head coach, John Fox. Elway may be one of the greatest offensive players ever to play the game of football, but he is no fool. He understands he is going to have to fix a defense that has ranked in the bottom five of the major defensive statistical ranks for the last three years. The story of Tebow and my thoughts have already been voiced, but his true effectiveness is all based on his defense.
Elway, Fox and left-hand man Brian Xanders, focused on the defensive side of the ball in the 2011 draft. More importantly, they re-signed the best player on Denver's defense in Champ Bailey. Though a lot of scrutiny have been put on the trio for not selecting Marcell Dareus, Nick Fairley or even Stephen Paea, the group remains steadfast in their plan.
Elway states they have a three-year plan to get the Broncos back to championship contenders. Broncos fans feel that time is eons away, but with a very solid draft and a franchise player in Von Miller, the three-year plan sounds pretty close.
Though the Broncos still need serious help, using their seventh-round and final pick to draft a defensive lineman, and even then, he is technically listed as a defensive end (Jeremy Beal). The Broncos have had a gaping whole in the middle of their defensive line causing them to get torched in the run game, which also allows for the opponents pass game to go over the top. The Broncos will be targeting defensive tackle and running back if and when free agency opens. Defensive tackle has to be at the very forefront of the plans of Elway and Co.
It has been made somewhat clear by the Broncos brass that, at defensive end, it will be Elvis Dumervil and former first-round pick Robert Ayers. Vonn Miller, Nate Irving and D.J. Williams would be listed from strong to weak backer. In your defensive backfield, you would have Champ Bailey, Rahim Moore, Brian Dawkins (on run downs)/ Quinton Carter (passing downs). The right corner back presents some issues, pending what happens to Perrish Cox and the courts and if they keep Andre Goodman. The starting lineups are up for debate, but one thing that is not up for debate is the Broncos need help on the defensive side of the ball, especially at tackle.
Here is the group of players the Broncos should target to make their new 4-3 defense a respectable one once free agency hits, hopefully in about a month.