Denver Broncos: Why drafting a quality linebacker is critical

I debated for a long time on what position the Denver Broncos need to draft most.  I was very tempted to stick to my guns and say that the secondary still needs help, but the fact of the matter is the Broncos are going to have one of the AFC’s best defensive backfields even if they end up not drafting a cornerback or safety in the draft (hopefully they will, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make here).

Instead I decided to succumb to public perception (and my own mind after evaluating the current Broncos roster) and say that the Broncos need a linebacker in the draft.

And they really do. Right now the Broncos linebacking corps is as follows: Nate Irving, Von Miller, Danny Trevathan, Lerentee McCray, Brandon Marshall (coincidence?), Steven Johnson, L.J. Fort, and Jamar Chaney.  None of those players started a game at middle linebacker last season, and only a few actually had significant roles on the team.

With the secondary coming along, and elite players rushing the quarterback (Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, potentially Derek Wolfe if he comes back strong) the Broncos need to ensure that the inside linebacker game is at the very least average next year.  Middle linebacker isn’t as big of a position as it used to be but it is still a glaring need for Denver.

With that said, here are some potential middle linebacker prospects that the Broncos should think about drafting:

Shayne Skov (Stanford): Not the most obvious choice, he’s a projected 3rd rounder by cbssports.com, but I think that Skov could be a dynamic game changer for the Broncos.  Last year Skov was a freak of nature, anchoring a defense that shut down the Oregon Ducks, and leading his team to a Pac 12 championship.

Check out the video of Skov below, the first play alone should be enough to convince you that Skov is one of the top players in this year’s draft.

Sure, Skov does have knee problems, but he recorded 62 solo tackles last year, and 13 for a loss.  Last year also saw Skov produce 3 forced fumbles and 5.5 sacks.

Digging deeper, Skov played in a 3-4 system in college, as opposed to the Broncos preferred 4-3, so that is something to consider, I personally don’t think it will be that big of a deal.

Max Bullough (Michigan State): Potential characters issues aside, Bullough has the potential to be a fantastic linebacker in the NFL.  Over his four years at Michigan State, Bullough recorded 299 total tackles with 3 interceptions and 8 sacks.

Again, if he has some sort of attitude problem the Broncos should avoid him, but he was the captain at Michigan State so it’s possible whatever happened at the Rose bowl was an isolated incident.  He did play in the 4-3 in college, so the transition to playing in the NFL would be significantly less intense than it would be for Skov.

If the Broncos do end up drafting either of these players it wouldn’t be in the first round.  The reason why I included them here is because I don’t think that the Broncos will be able to get CJ Mosley in the first round, and Chris Borland from Wisconsin may be gone by the time the Broncos draft in the second round.  Don’t be surprised if the Broncos go secondary or O-line in the first round just due to available players.  However, I still maintain that both Skov and Bullough would be quality pick-ups.

 

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