Following reports on Wednesday evening that Denver had been targeting Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller with their second overall pick, suspicions were confirmed on Thursday evening when the team drafted him with their first selection.
The team holds three more selections for day two (#36 and #46 in the second round and #67 in the third), so they'll be busy today.
Denver is confident Miller will thrive in it's 4-3 defense.
“Really, the reason we decided to go the way of Von Miller was his explosiveness, both in coverage and as a pass rusher," said Broncos Head Coach John Fox in a press conference shortly after the first round of the draft had concluded.
Some fans have been pondering why the team selected a prospect that played in a 3-4 defense during his collegian career, even though Denver runs a 4-3 defense. Fox says he is talented enough to make the switch, and will become a big part of the team's defense.
"He seems to have that uncommon ability to be great, as far as the want-to. He's a great young man, we feel like he'll represent our organization very well. We're just excited to have him and feel great about his abilities both on and off the field."
It is expected that Miller will play weakside outside linebacker on first and second down and move to defensive end on third downs. He is a very versatile player and will be moved around a lot on game days.
“(Miller) was a definite three-down player, and with special teams, he can be a four-down player," Fox continued. Miller is a pure pass rusher and should excel at either outside linebacker or defensive end, similarly to Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil.
If the season started today, Miller would play weakside linebacker, Joe Mays would be the 'Mike' or middle linebacker, and D.J. Williams would be the strongside outside linebacker. The Broncos have a lot of depth at linebacker and will probably use a lot of players rationally.
Former outside linebackers Robert Ayers, Jason Hunter and Mario Haggan could move to defensive end and holdover outside linebacker Wesley Woodyard should see time as a situational player, as well as on special teams.
The Broncos have a lot of options for day two.
Broncos General Manager Brian Xanders said the team did not receive any offers to trade down from their 2nd overall pick, but the team has already received several offers for their 2nd and 3rd round selections.
“I’m sure there’s going to be more movement now [in the later rounds],” Fox admitted. “The next day is like a whole other draft - I’m sure we’ll have a lot of options.”
If there is a player that the Broncos really like available when they are on the clock however, the team won't trade down.
“If the guys that we like are all there, then we won’t move back,” Fox said. “It’s hard to predict right now; it’s pretty fluid." The team is expected to address the defensive line and possibly the secondary in the second and third rounds.
Several playersplayers Denver may target on day two:
There are several players still available that were expected to in the first round and several others that provide great value as second round selections. Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers has fallen out of the first round and if he continues to slide all the way to #36 the Broncos may draft him there. Miami defensive lineman Allen Bailey is another player that could be available.
Oregon State defensive tackle Stephan Paea and North Carolina's Marvin Austin also are both still on the board, and are players Denver may be targeting. Safeties Rahim Moore (UCLA) and Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple) are two other options, as is Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure.
Broncos veteran players getting back to work.
The lockout has ended (at least temporarily) so Denver players have been arriving at the team's training facility in Dove Valley to meet with coaches, pick up playbooks and get in some workouts. Currently, fifteen players have arrived and second year quarterback Tim Tebow is going to show up sometime today.
The workouts are not mandatory - all the players have gone voluntarily. However, the 8th circuit may rule a stay as early as later today, which would in effect, cause players to once again be locked out.
The Broncos will be on the clock in a few hours, stay tuned for continued coverage and another LIVE Draft Chat on the blog this evening.