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5 Denver Broncos Rookies to Watch in 2011-2012

Clint DalyContributor IIAugust 17, 2011

5 Denver Broncos Rookies to Watch in 2011-2012

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    Coming off of a 4-12 season in 2010-2011, the Denver Broncos are in need of big changes.

    John Fox has taken over as head coach for Josh McDaniels. John Elway is now back in the fold as the Executive Vice President of Football Operations. Brian Xanders now has full control as the general manager.

    The Broncos had nine draft picks in the 2011 NFL Draft.

    Here are five to keep an eye on...

No. 53 Mike Mohamed

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    The Broncos used their sixth-round pick to select Mike Mohamed, a LB from the University of California. 

    A notoriously hard worker, Mohamed may not have the skills to get significant playing time on defense, but don't be surprised to see him playing a solid role on special teams.

    The Broncos gave up nearly 25 yards on every kickoff return in 2010-2011. Mohamed can help.

No. 56 Nate Irving

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    While playing for North Carolina State, LB Nate Irving set the NCAA record for tackles for loss, with eight in a single game.

    Backing up Joe Mays and Mario Haggan may not allow for an abundance of playing time, but Irving will make the most of the time he gets.  A solid wrap-up tackler, Irving may also see some time on special teams.

No. 74 Orlando Franklin

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    Orlando Franklin comes to Denver out of the University of Miami (FL), where he showed both versatility and a nasty disposition.

    With Ryan Harris departing Denver for Philadelphia, Franklin steps immediately into the starting lineup.

    An aggressive blocker, Franklin can only help a Denver running game which averaged an ineffectual 3.9 yards per carry in 2010-2011.

No. 58 Von Miller

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    The Broncos desperately needed a pass-rusher and they got one with Von Miller out of Texas A&M.

    Miller won the Butkus award for the nation's top linebacker as a senior and recorded 27.5 sack in his final two seasons with the Aggies.

    Miller has already been tabbed a starter at the strong side linebacker by the Broncos.

    The drafting of Miller, combined with the return of a healthy Elvis Dumervil, give the Broncos a substantial improvement over last year's team which combined for a total of 23 sacks. Look for Miller to be a playmaker for the Broncos immediately. 

No. 26 Rahim Moore

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    The Denver Broncos have a history of play making safeties. Steve Atwater, Dennis Smith, John Lynch, Brian Dawkins, Billy Thompson and Steve Foley have all donned the orange and blue.

    Rahim Moore, a safety from UCLA, seems to fit that mold. A ball-hawking, hard-hitting safety, Moore has very solid cover skills and will benefit greatly from working with veterans like Champ Bailey and the aforementioned Dawkins. Moore can improve a defensive unit that recorded only 10 interceptions in 2010-2011.

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