Friday, February 8, 2013
A big priority for Denver
By Tim Kavanagh
As we inch closer to the start of the NFL league year, teams are scrambling to give themselves some additional cap space with which to work in order to fill out their rosters with new talent. The Denver Broncos are in no such cap crunch, with $18.5 million in projected space according to ESPN's John Clayton, but they do have some significant vacancies to fill this offseason, either with free agents or draft picks.
Perhaps the biggest one is at defensive tackle, in the opinion of Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post. "Both Justin Bannan and Kevin Vickerson will be unrestricted free agents. Vickerson took a pay cut this past season, and both players will be looking for greener contractual pastures. The Broncos would like to retain them, but won't be looking to go beyond short-term deals. They both may be able to do better on the open market. So, both sides will likely watch what the market does when free agency opens in March."
In the end, the Broncos may wind up signing a veteran free agent at the position -- the options include Henry Melton, Randy Starks, Richard Seymour and Jason Jones -- as well as drafting someone with an early-round pick. In fact, both Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay had them taking Purdue DT Kawann Short at No. 28 overall in their latest mock drafts:
Mel Kiper Jr.Mock Draft V2.0
"Right now Justin Bannan is listed atop the Denver depth chart at nose tackle, and Bannan is 33 with no guarantee of returning in 2013. Insert Short, who can use leverage and strength to eat up blockers, and also has a knack for using long arms to swat passes. The question with Short has been whether he can generate consistent impact play to play, but when he's at his best, he can really free up pass-rushers and linebackers. Denver could also give corner a look here, where a player like Xavier Rhodes could be available."
Todd McShayMock Draft V2.0
"Denver could opt for a slot receiver who could give QB Peyton Manning another weapon, but the Broncos need to beef up the interior of their defensive line. Short is a strong run defender with a quick first step and a powerful upper body. The biggest knock on him is his inconsistent motor, but you don't see many guys loafing it in Denver now that Peyton is in town."