2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Broncos look for help on D-line in draft

By EDDIE PELLS - AP National Writer
    2013-04-23 11:32

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Safe to say, the Broncos will not be faxing their pick to league headquarters.

Still, it's that balky fax machine and the repercussions of losing Elvis Dumervil that helped shape the way Denver heads into this week's draft.

The team that tied for the best record in the league last season, then lost both its playoff game and Dumervil to the Baltimore Ravens, needs a pass-rushing defensive lineman as much as anything this offseason.

The Broncos have the 28th pick Thursday and whether Executive Vice President John Elway decides to use it, or trade down as he did last season, he figures to have his pick from a deep group of defensive ends, including Tank Carradine and Bjoern Werner of Florida State and Datone Jones of UCLA.

``There are a lot of good football players there,'' Elway said. ``It's kind of a matter of what kind of flavor you like.''

Entering his third draft as a Broncos executive, Elway acts like a true NFL front-office veteran in his pre-draft meetings with the media - speaking in broad generalities, discussing his appreciation for ``the best player available'' and even talking up Dumervil's replacement, Robert Ayers, a first-round pick in 2009 who has 6 1/2 career sacks.

Dumervil had 11 sacks last season and 63 1/2 over his six healthy years in Denver.

``Robert Ayers had a good year last year,'' Elway said. ``He was coming on and he's the starter there at right end right now. I have faith that he is going to come in and have a good year.''

That message could, of course, be one part true and another part for the benefit of Dwight Freeney, the free-agent pass rusher who could still wind up in a Broncos uniform but only at the right price. Freeney kept himself out of the frenzy of signings when the market opened; word is he's holding out for a better deal that could come when teams see what they have come the end of draft weekend.

The Broncos certainly won't have Dumervil, and in his pre-draft news conference, Elway fielded a few questions about what, exactly, happened. The short version: Things got dicey when the Broncos said ``OK'' to Dumervil even though he'd missed their deadline to agree to a restructured deal and a significant pay cut. In a late rush to complete the deal, Dumervil and his agent didn't get the signed contract faxed to the Broncos in time and the team had no choice but to waive him.

``If there's anything I would take back it's the fact that if there's a deadline, there's a deadline,'' Elway said. ``There's a reason why there's a deadline, because you can't get everything done fast enough. It's an unfortunate situation, but that won't happen again.''

Why the fax machine?

``I'm not going to get into that,'' Elway said.

While Elway talks about drafting the best player available, there are some positions where he will almost certainly not go, at least not early.

Quarterback. Tight end. Receiver. Denver is set at all of them.

The Broncos could use some depth at linebacker. They might also be looking for the cornerback of the future, now that Champ Bailey is 35. His rough game against Baltimore - he was the man in coverage on a pair of long touchdowns by Torrey Smith - brought on the predictable chirping about him moving to safety someday.

``That's fine,'' Bailey said of the possibility of Denver drafting a corner. ``I don't really look at that any kind of way. I see what players they draft, how can they help us? Plain and simple. Every guy is looking to be replaced at some point. I've been looked at that way for the past six or seven years. It doesn't affect me one bit.''

Elway's most intriguing decision could very well revolve around running backs.

Some Denver fans think the Broncos would have a third Lombardi Trophy had they had a running back who could've milked the clock down in January during the drive before Joe Flacco completed the game-tying 70-yard touchdown pass over safety Rahim Moore.

Willis McGahee was on injured reserve and Knowshon Moreno got dinged up earlier in the game, leaving the heavy lifting to a rookie, Ronnie Hillman, who was built more for change of pace than grinding it out. All three are under contract, though if the Broncos find a better every-down back, they might go there.

Elway, however, is a realist when it comes to drafting running backs. Using a first-round pick on one is a risk. (See, Moreno). Meanwhile, the back who helped him finally win the Super Bowl, Terrell Davis, was a sixth-round pick.

``That's not to say that a good running back is not still very important, because you're going to need to be able to have some balance in your attack,'' Elway said. ``I think with the trend and where it is going, the running back has been bumped down a little bit.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Brandon BrownerOct 30 04:32p

New England Patriots DT Alan Branch (non-injury related) and DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Nate Ebner (finger), DL Dominique Easley (knee), OL Cameron [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 30 04:22p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DT Domata Peko (toe) and OT Andre Smith [ More ]

Dwight FreeneyOct 30 04:22p

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o (foot), CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) and S Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) was limited. CB [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 30 04:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) practiced fully Thursday, Oct. 30.

Terrell SuggsOct 30 04:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (foot) and LB Terrell Suggs (neck) all did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Marshal Yanda (knee) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 30 03:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) and SS Ross Ventrone (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and FS [ More ]

Bruce CarterOct 30 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (finger) suffered a broken ring finger during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, but expects to play in Week 9. He will wear a splint on his finger for protection.

Cullen JenkinsOct 30 03:12p

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back, hamstring) and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) were both limited in practice.

Brandon BoykinOct 30 03:12p

Philadelphia Eagles FS Nate Allen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. TE Brent Celek (back) and WR Brad Smith (groin) were both limited in practice. CB [ More ]

D'Qwell JacksonOct 30 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts LB D'Qwell Jackson (toe), DT Arthur Jones (ankle), LB Erik Walden (quadriceps) and LB Josh McNary (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Vontae [ More ]

Rashad JenningsOct 30 02:42p

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Jordan CameronOct 30 02:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Anthony CollinsOct 30 02:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Oniel Cousins is working at left tackle with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, because OT Anthony Collins (foot) is sitting out practice.

Doug MartinOct 30 02:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Jason VerrettOct 30 01:52p

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks with a torn labrum, according to two sources.

DeAngelo WilliamsOct 30 01:52p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) will start the team's Week 9 game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Oct. 30, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 01:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) received most of the work with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, and will start in Week 9 if he [ More ]

Jaylen WatkinsOct 30 01:32p

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Giovani BernardOct 30 01:22p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

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Trent RichardsonOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Reggie WayneOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 12:22p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo's (back) status is making head coach Jason Garrett feel optimistic about his availability for Week 9.

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Rashad JenningsOct 30 11:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) has been ruled out for Week 9.

Phil BatesOct 30 10:52a

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agent WR Phil Bates (Seahawks) to the practice squad and released CB Marcus Cromartie Thursday, Oct. 30.

Charles SimsOct 30 10:13a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims could have 10 or more touches in Week 9, in the opinion of beat writer Greg Auman.

Ryan MathewsOct 30 09:52a

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) is likely to sit out of the Week 9 game and return after the Week 10 bye.

Dennis PittaOct 30 09:52a

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