Teams and fans throughout the country are looking forward to the possibilities who may be the last pieces in a playoff trip or a Super Bowl run as the NFL draft in 2022 approaches.
The Denver Broncos are counting on a special group of linebackers to help them put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The Broncos linebackers had numerous hit-or-miss weeks following the trade of outside linebacker Von Miller in the midst of the 2021 season, with one of the finest coming the game after Miller was traded.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who had been practically unstoppable up until that time, was continuously rattled by the defense.
There were however games in which Denver struggled to get to the quarterback and stop the run, with the lowest point being against the Philadelphia Eagles, when the Broncos allowed 216 yards rushing.
Paton has a lot on his mind when it comes to drafting this position, despite not having a first-round pick in this weekend’s draft (a move that doesn’t appear to concern GM George Paton).
On April 22, Paton noted, “First and foremost, [linebacker] is a very instinctual position.” “First, there’s the capacity to key and diagnose, and then there’s the physical characteristics.” You definitely prefer them to be bigger and longer.
Now we’re in a space league. You want your players to be able to run, play in space, and cover. Look at our division; you need linebackers that can cover the entire field.”
Paton is entirely correct in his assessment. Tight end threats Travis Kelce and Darren Waller have been the target of considerable attention and red faces in Denver defensive preparation sessions alone in the AFC West. Tight ends, like Noah Fant of the Seattle Seahawks, are becoming pass-catching threats around the NFL.
While current Broncos linebacker Josey Jewell may not stand out in coverage, he compensates with his play speed.
“When you look at a guy like Josey Jewell, he may not be the biggest or the fastest, but he plays faster than the rest,” Paton said. “He sees things more quickly.” He is anticipatory. “It’s just that he’s so instinctive.”
The Broncos have a chance to snag a linebacker who can be a force in the middle of their defense for years to come, with eight of the top ten linebackers in the draft projected to be taken in the first 100 picks.