Denver Broncos Safety Renaldo Hill Released, Position Battle Looming Large

Aaron YoungCorrespondent IIIAugust 1, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS - DECEMBER 13:  Darcel McBath #31 of the Denver Broncos runs with the ball after intercepting a pass during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The Colts won 28-16.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos released safety Renaldo Hill yesterday, clearing $2.4 million in cap room. This is hardly a surprising move, considered that the Broncos have been stacked at safety ever since the 2011 NFL draft.

The question that begs an answer is: Who will start at free safety for the Denver Broncos in 2011?

It is expected that Darcel McBath will battle it out against this year’s second-round draft pick, Rahim Moore, for the starting free safety spot.

It’s not fair to claim that McBath, who is also a former second-round draft pick, hasn’t been productive at all thus far in the NFL.

The 25-year-old has started only one game since he was drafted, but he has made a total of 20 appearances. In those 20 games, the free safety has managed to rack up 43 tackles, deflect four passes and make two interceptions—not too shabby for a non-starter.

There was some speculation that McBath would replace Brian Dawkins, who is declining, so Renaldo Hill, who was incumbent at best at free safety, could move to strong safety.

That has all changed now that Hill has been cut.

Although McBath is a valid candidate to start at free safety for the Denver Broncos in 2011, we also expect coach John Fox to have a long look at rookie Rahim Moore.

Moore is known to be more of a ball-hawking kind of safety, and in 2009 as a sophomore in college, he led the nation in interceptions by 10. There is no doubt that this guy can play.

Some would argue that giving Rahim Moore one year in the NFL to beef up before he becomes the starter might make a lot of sense. However, he did have 11 bench-press repetitions at the combine, and therefore seems strong enough to play at this level already.

Rahim Moore’s disadvantage is that he does not know the defense as well as McBath does. You might argue that there will be a new defense this year.

That would be because there’s a new coach in town, but the playbook will have some of the same elements although the team is switching back to the 4-3-defense. You simply cannot change the entire playbook over the course of one summer.

Many people tend to talk about the ongoing quarterback battle in Denver, but people should keep in mind that there are players fighting over other positions as well.

We’re looking forward to an intriguing free safety battle in Denver.

Sidenote: It will be interesting to see how the money saved from cutting Renaldo Hill will be reinvested in the team.

Comments are always appreciated.