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  • Front Seven Depth Chart

    Hey, Happy 4th of July all:salute!:

    Since this is the true dead season of the NFL, and I need to take a break from coaching so much baseball, I thought I would bring up and discuss the Broncos prospects for the defensive front seven his year.

    I will use what I understand to be the current depth chart, and how I see it changing as training camp develops, and try to predict how the final roster will shake out.

    Feel free to jump in and debate...

    D-Line

    LDE
    My projected starter: Marcus Thomas, 6'3"-308
    A third year vet with a former first round prospects talent, one can only hope he can make the move and the adjustment to the outside. As a combinaton 3-technique/nose tackle in the 4-3, like San Diego's Luis Castillo, there can be a case made for him playing as a 5-technique DE in a 3-4. He has the size and the power to be stout at the point of attack, yet has the quickness to provide a pass rush. Simply put, Thomas is one of the key wildcards to helping the defense make a significant improvement this season, and has as much upside as any D-lineman candidate.

    Others:
    Ryan McBean (6'4"-292) Was the listed starter through much of the OTA's, but his inexperience is a concern.

    Nic Clemons (6'6"-302) Actually, Clemons will be a player of interest for me to watch. I thought he flashed and did some good things in TC last year, which is why he made the team. Clemons has the size and versatility to compete in camp, and could suprise again.

    Everette Pedescleaux (6'6"-305) An interesting undrafted free agent with some tools to work with; will probably be a practice squad candidate.


    NT
    Ronald Fields (6'2"-315) I truly believe that Fields is going to be an under-rated, suprisingly soild player for the Broncos. Mike Nolan brought him in, and I have to respect that Nolan believes he can handle the job. Not the second coming of Jamal Williams perhaps, but solid none-the-less.

    Others:
    J'Vonne Parker (6'4"-325) An experienced player in the Steelers 3-4, Parker has the size and versatility to play NT and DE, and is a big body.

    Carlton Powell (6'3"-310) After losing his rookie season to injury, coming off surgery to repair a torn Achillies tendon, and playing in a new system, the odds would appear to be long against his making the roster.
    Chris Baker (6'3"-328) Another undrafted free agent project that will probably stick on the final roster due to his potential, and limited competition. He would be a major coup for the Broncos if he can develop and become a player down the road, but he was once a Penn St. recruit.

    RDE
    Kenny Peterson (6'3"-302) Once of my favorite players on the Broncos, primarily because of the heart and determination he played with over the last season-and-a-half after being brought back to the Broncos. I think Peterson is also an under-rated player, and will do a good job for the Broncos as the starting RDE. His experience in playing DT and DE in a 4-3 will help him adjust to the 3-4.

    Others:
    Matthias Askew (6'5"-305) A former 4-3 DT signed to the Broncos practice squad after the Benglas released him, the move to a new defense, and the competiton on the roster makes him a longshot.

    Rulon Davis (6'5"-281) Definitely a player to keep your eye on. Davis' supreme conditioning, and a Marine's discipline give him an edge over his competition, even if he is at an advanced age as a rookie...but that turned out OK for Mike Anderson and the Broncos once before.

    Bottom Line: I say the Broncos keep six D-Linemen, with Thomas, Fields, and Peterson as locks, and McBean, Baker, Parker, Pedescleaux and Rulon Davis in hot pursuit.

    Linebackers

    LOLB
    Tim Crowder (6'4"-272) One of the biggest suprises of the OTA's was the announcement that Crowder had been playing with the first team defense. Some say his athletic grades at the combine suggest he is a better fit for a 3-4 OLB, and he does have a similar build and background to other 'backers, ala Dallas' Greg Ellis over the last two years, and Baltimore's Jarrett Johnson. Both players are converted DE's.

    Others:
    Darrell Reid (6'4"-285) Interesting player coming from the 4-3 defensive system in Indy, but the Broncos made a move to get him in free agency right away, so they obviously liked him. My thought is he is probably more geared to play and contribute on special teams, but will probably be an important role player on the Broncos defense as well, as he can play LB, DE and DT.

    LILB
    Aundra Davis (6'1"-254) The free-agent signing from the Browns gives the Broncos a veteran presence to start camp in helping the transition to the new defense, but I still believe he is a longshot to make the team, as the Broncos have some very good, young ILB's.

    Others:
    Wesley Woodyard (6'1"-230) Some folks get hung up on technicalities when discussing this player...'well, he's not a true strong-side ILB...', etc. The fact is, Woodyard is now a legit 6'1"-230lb linebacker that has grown into his body, and who has always made plays when he is on the field. He plays with intensity and emotion, and to me, it is just a matter of time before he is named the starting LB inside with DJ Williams, regardless of what positions they are referred to...and before you say he is too small, I simply point to former Patriot ILB Roman Pfiefer who was 6'1"-225, and played on the Patroits first Super Bowl defense, and Sam Mills, who at 5'9"-230, was a force for years with the Saints 3-4....bottom line: a player is a player is a player, and Wesley Woodyard is a football player, period, and a very good one.

    Nick Greisen (6'1"-250) Another experienced vet from a 3-4 system in Baltimore than could contend for a backup spot if he excells on special teams.

    Lee Robinson (6'3"-248) A player I was very suprised to see went undrafted. I think this player from Alcorn St is going to suprise alot of folks the way Woodyard did last year, and who I believe will make a strong case to make the team.

    RILB
    D.J. Williams (6'1"-245) In a year's time, no one will be more happy with the move to a 3-4 than DJ Williams. He will have stopped his annual move to a new position, and like Pittsburgh's James Farrior, should find that it suits his skills perfectly. Williams was on the verge of becoming a Pro Bowl player last year, and I would not be suprised to see him make that move now in the new defense.

    Others:
    Spencer Larsen (6'2"-242) A very good, versatile young player that should provide excellent depth at LB, as well as an enforcer on special teams. It will also be interesting to see if he continues his dual role at FB of offense.

    Mario Haggan (6'3"-263) A huge, veteran body in the inside that is familiar with the 3-4 defense from his years in Buffalo, who will have to make it on special teams.


    ROLB
    Robert Ayers (6'3"-272) The Broncos appear to be set on making him the starter that the 'elephant'/'joker' standup RDE/OLB position from day one, ala Shawne Merriman and Terrell Suggs, and the defense will be counting on him for immediate impact.

    Others:
    Elvis Dumervil (5'11"-257) A player in the final year of his contract, whose role in the defense appears to be undetermined. Physically, he is built similar to Pittsburgh OLB James Harrison, but Ayers appears to be all but assured that spot on the defense. Dumervil could play a role similar to what Javon Green does in the Patriots defense as a traditional 4-3 DE when they go to four down lineman, which would mean Dumervil is a designated pass rusher. The opportunity to play elsewhere next season in moving back to a 4-3 means Dumervil is probably playing out his last season as a Bronco.

    Jarvis Moss (6'6"-255) Like Crowder, Moss is probably looking at his last opportunity to become a solid player in Denver. His athleticism and qability to play in space will determine if he can carve out a future in this defense.

    Bottom Line: I look for Ayers, DJ Williams and Woodyard to be three of the four starting LB's this season, with the other remaining position to be determined, as I am not conceding it to Crowder at this point.

    OK, debate time...
    Last edited by MindField; 07-04-2009, 10:57 AM.

  • #2
    i really like what weve got here I just hope Doom can beat out Crowder
    i just got a feeling about Doom in a 3-4
    "Its not the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog" - Coach Doug Kinney

    "Matt Stafford will be a bust"
    July 18 2009

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by packwolf25 View Post
      i really like what weve got here I just hope Doom can beat out Crowder
      i just got a feeling about Doom in a 3-4
      I am a Dumervil fan too, and I hope he finds a spot on the starting 'D'

      Comment


      • #4
        i really like your descriptions of each player (especially guys like thomas and woodyard). although a couple things i think you should change though, for instance marrio hagan is probably more of an SILB and also, i think thomas HAS to compete for NT now. I believe that hes bulked up already to give it a shot, and i don't see him having to lose weight again and learn another new position.

        as for the the crowder/doom thing, i'm a big fan of elvis to and hope that he can win the starting job. but i'm not gonna deny that the thought of having two 270+ monsters as our OLBs isn't making me drool.....
        disclaimer: if the above post appears to contain outrageously illogical content, ITS PROBABLY SARCASM

        Comment


        • #5
          Good post, and you make some sense.

          However, I don't believe Powell is on the bubble as much as you seem to feel he
          is. As I understand, he has the same as Thomas, and remember: he logged a
          minus yardage allowed to the running game at his position in college. Personally,
          I wonder whether he might not make a better DE.

          I also think Andra Davis is pretty locked in right now at LILB. He is just about
          the only one who is experienced in the 3-4, and he has been competent if not
          spectacular. Regarding Woodyard, I believe he is probably better at playing in
          space, so RILB might be more conducive to his skills.

          At this point, Larsen is the one I envision taking over the starting spot at
          LILB. He is a vicious hitter with a nose for the football. Some people are
          concerned about his speed, but that didn't stop Lynch from being a possible
          HOF candidate at safety, and it won't stop Larsen because Larsen always
          seems to be where the football is.

          -----

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by broncos1997 View Post
            i really like your descriptions of each player (especially guys like thomas and woodyard). although a couple things i think you should change though, for instance marrio hagan is probably more of an SILB and also, i think thomas HAS to compete for NT now. I believe that hes bulked up already to give it a shot, and i don't see him having to lose weight again and learn another new position.

            as for the the crowder/doom thing, i'm a big fan of elvis to and hope that he can win the starting job. but i'm not gonna deny that the thought of having two 270+ monsters as our OLBs isn't making me drool.....
            You could be right, although I have not read where Thomas has bulked up anticipating a move to NT, and at his playing weight last year, could be a fit at DE.

            Crowder and Dumervil, and their role on the defense are two of the biggest questions headed into camp.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MindField View Post
              You could be right, although I have not read where Thomas has bulked up anticipating a move to NT, and at his playing weight last year, could be a fit at DE.

              Crowder and Dumervil, and their role on the defense are two of the biggest questions headed into camp.
              I could be wrong about Dumervil, but I don't think he has much to worry about.
              He has just exceptional athletic ability, and a couple players have reported that
              he is playing LB as if he's been there before . . .

              -----

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by topscribe View Post
                Good post, and you make some sense.

                However, I don't believe Powell is on the bubble as much as you seem to feel he
                is. As I understand, he has the same as Thomas, and remember: he logged a
                minus yardage allowed to the running game at his position in college. Personally,
                I wonder whether he might not make a better DE.

                I also think Andra Davis is pretty locked in right now at LILB. He is just about
                the only one who is experienced in the 3-4, and he has been competent if not
                spectacular. Regarding Woodyard, I believe he is probably better at playing in
                space, so RILB might be more conducive to his skills.

                At this point, Larsen is the one I envision taking over the starting spot at
                LILB. He is a vicious hitter with a nose for the football. Some people are
                concerned about his speed, but that didn't stop Lynch from being a possible
                HOF candidate at safety, and it won't stop Larsen because Larsen always
                seems to be where the football is.

                -----
                Powell is really a shade over 6'2", so he is a questionable prospect at DE, although San Diego's projected starter in replacing Igor Olshansky, Jacques Cesaire is 6'2", so you never know.

                Powell is a question to be answered in camp to be sure, but he is an interesting player.

                As for ILB, in considering your scenario, what about DJ Williams?

                With his recent contract extension and experience, he should be a starter for the forseeable future.
                Last edited by MindField; 07-04-2009, 11:39 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Most excellent read, it's refreshing to see these types of posts on here. I agree with much of what you said, but I think given some time and a fair shot Powell is going to be a good player. I'm pretty excited about seeing what he can do.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by topscribe View Post
                    I could be wrong about Dumervil, but I don't think he has much to worry about.
                    He has just exceptional athletic ability, and a couple players have reported that
                    he is playing LB as if he's been there before . . .

                    -----
                    I have my fingers crossed for Dumervil as well.

                    I like his character, and he is now a solid veteran player, so it would be nice to not have to replace him, and he would be one more piece to re-build the defense with.
                    Last edited by MindField; 07-04-2009, 11:42 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by topscribe View Post
                      At this point, Larsen is the one I envision taking over the starting spot at
                      LILB. He is a vicious hitter with a nose for the football. Some people are
                      concerned about his speed, but that didn't stop Lynch from being a possible
                      HOF candidate at safety, and it won't stop Larsen because Larsen always
                      seems to be where the football is.

                      -----
                      I don't know what people see in Larsen that makes him so special. I know he has tons of heart, but I just didn't see anything really outstanding from him. When I think of rookies on the defense who showed star quality I think of Wesley Woodyard, that dude is a beast.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dman444 View Post
                        Most excellent read, it's refreshing to see these types of posts on here. I agree with much of what you said, but I think given some time and a fair shot Powell is going to be a good player. I'm pretty excited about seeing what he can do.
                        Powell is a young player in the same boat as players like Crowder, Dumervil, Woodyard, etc....that is, he has the potential to be a player, and to become a solid piece of the defense, we just have to see them take that step.

                        But if all of these types of players hit at once, the Broncos defense could make dramatic improvements this season, and wouldn't that be nice to see.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dman444 View Post
                          I don't know what people see in Larsen that makes him so special. I know he has tons of heart, but I just didn't see anything really outstanding from him. When I think of rookies on the defense who showed star quality I think of Wesley Woodyard, that dude is a beast.
                          Frankly, I don't see Larsen as a starter either, but rather as a very important role player as a backup LB, special teams demon, and backup FB.

                          At the end of camp, I project DJ Williams and Wesley Woodyard as the starters inside with Larsen and Lee Robinson as the backups.

                          I am really looking forward to seeing what Robinson can do...he has the body and the makeup to be a big-time thumper in the middle.
                          Last edited by MindField; 07-04-2009, 11:56 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I haven't seen enough of the linemen to form any legitimate opinion but I'd assume Fields is locked as the starting NT unless someone steps up in TC. I also think Powell has a better chance than you give him credit for if he's fully healed. If Thomas and Crowder could both pull starting jobs and play well it could make that '07 draft class look like an accidental stroke of genius. I'll say the 6 that make the roster are Fields, Thomas, Peterson, Powell, Baker and either Clemons or McBean.

                            I agree that DJ will love his new spot and do a great job. I think Davis' level of play is mostly established so if Woodyard wins that spot it means he's really getting after it. I still think Davis holds the starting spot in the base 3-4. Woodyard and Larsen should be on the depth chart at both inside spots.

                            Assuming Ayers will be given one OLB starting spot, the other side comes down to whether Doom can hold his edge against the run. If he can do that then there's no reason to keep him off the field. If he struggles there then Crowder or someone has to play until it's an obvious passing down. Moss seems likely to be the odd man out.
                            Last edited by expatRick; 07-04-2009, 11:52 AM.
                            \

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MindField View Post
                              Powell is really a shade over 6'2", so he is a questionable prospect at DE, although San Diego's projected starter in replacing Igor Olshansky, Jacques Cesaire is 6'2", so you never know.

                              Powell is a question to be answered in camp to be sure, but he is an interesting player.

                              As for ILB, in considering your scenario, what about DJ Williams?

                              With his recent contract extension and experience, he should be a starter for the forseeable future.
                              That's precisely why I didn't mention D.J. Of the LBs on the roster, I consider
                              him the one lock at his position (RILB).

                              Regarding Powell, I'm only so much into size. As you pointed out, other players
                              have more than overcome any perceived size disadvantages by being simply
                              exceptional players. Powell may have that kind of ability. We'll see.


                              Originally posted by dman444 View Post
                              I don't know what people see in Larsen that makes him so special. I know he has tons of heart, but I just didn't see anything really outstanding from him. When I think of rookies on the defense who showed star quality I think of Wesley Woodyard, that dude is a beast.
                              I get that from being very familiar with Larsen, who played for the University
                              of Arizona, which is almost within walking distance from where I live. I have
                              seen what he can do. I'm not projecting him as a lock as a starter at LILB,
                              but I do see special qualities in him that could put him there.

                              I do believe he is a better fit as a good LB than as a so-so FB.

                              -----
                              Last edited by topscribe; 07-04-2009, 12:03 PM.

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