IDEAL DRAFT RANGE: It depends on what you want.
If the goal is to find a fast defensive end who is also big enough to stand up against the run and play every down, you'd better pounce as early as the first round. More one-dimensional defensive ends -- sub package pass rushers or first- and second-down run stoppers -- can be found elsewhere, often between Rounds 3 and 6.
Defensive tackles also have a split. A player like
RECENT BRONCOS HISTORY: Since John Elway became executive vice president of football operations in 2011, he has emphasized this area of the defense. That was apparent from the selection of Miller with the No. 2 overall pick that year, and continued with defensive end
Miller is listed as a linebacker, but his continued work as a pass-rushing defensive end in sub packages defines him.
If you count Miller among the linebackers, the Broncos have still invested in five defensive linemen in Elway's drafts, with the most recent being fifth-round pick
Williams was also the first defensive tackle selected by the Broncos in Round 1 since Trevor Pryce in 1997.
BRONCOS OUTLOOK: In spite of losing Robert Ayers and Shaun Phillips to free agency, the Broncos have a full stable of pass rushers and interior defensive linemen and don't have a pressing need. But the lack of obvious needs elsewhere on much of the roster could lead to a pick as early as the first round if a player with a high grade falls. This is especially true of pass rushers, considering that
The progress of Smith and
At defensive tackle, the Broncos must consider the contract situations and future plans regarding