Top draft needs of the Broncos

The Denver Broncos are looking for help from the draft on the defensive line, at linebacker, safety and offensive line.

DL -- The Broncos will look at ends and tackles in the draft. Denver tied for 15th in the NFL in sacks last season, and have struggled to get a pass rush from the front four for some time. Denver is thin on large tackles that fit Jim Bates' new scheme, but it would be tough to pass up a strong pass-rushing end if they have a choice between the two.

LB -- There is a hole in the middle of the defense without longtime middle linebacker Al Wilson. The position is important in Jim Bates' scheme, because he likes tackles to take up blockers and linebackers to pile up tackles. Zach Thomas thrived in the scheme when Bates coaches in Miami. D.J. Williams could move to the middle, Nate Webster could take over for Wilson, or the Broncos could draft a rookie in the early rounds and try to get him ready to play right away.

S -- Denver isn't necessarily looking for a starter, considering John Lynch and Nick Ferguson are still solid. But they will have to eventually replace them. The Broncos have drafted only one safety the past four drafts, Michigan's Jeremy LeSueur, and LeSueur is no longer with the team. They might invest in a safety this year.

OL -- The Broncos were hit by some injuries on the offensive line last year, which hammered home the importance of depth. Left tackle Matt Lepsis is coming off a knee injury, center Tom Nalen is nearing the end of his career and right tackle is in flux. The Broncos likely won't draft a player and put him in the lineup right away, but they're always looking for depth.



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