KUSA - The Denver Broncos could use a Taco.
Finishing second in the free-agent recruiting bids for Calais Campbell and Earl Mitchell left the Broncos hungry (sorry) at the 3-4 defensive end position.
The Broncos have Derek Wolfe at one inside defensive end position while Adam Gotsis, Zach Kerr and Jared Crick will compete for the other.
Kerr was an offseason addition after he was non-tendered as a restricted free agent by the Indianapolis Colts who had turnover in their front office. He is a nice rotational player, but the Broncos pursuit of Campbell and Mitchell proves they want a solid anchor and backfield penetrator on the left side.
Taco Charlton (his given first name is Vidauntae) is a defensive end who is getting first-round consideration. The former Michigan Wolverine had 9.5 sacks last season. The Broncos’ No. 20 overall pick might be a little rich for Taco. Outside of Alabama’s Jonathan Allen, there might not be another 3-4 defensive end worthy of No. 20.
But if the three, first-round offensive tackles – Cam Robinson, Ryan Ramczyk and Garett Bolles – are unexpectantly gone by No. 20, 5-technique defensive end is the Broncos’ next most pressing need.
Barring a trade for a veteran, offensive line (offensive tackle, plus guard-center Forrest Lamp if he’s there), defensive end, tight end, pass-rushing outside linebacker and perhaps a certain running back from Valor Christian are the Broncos’ only possibilities in the first round.
We’ll look at each before April 27, when the first round of the NFL Draft will be held. Today we look at nine defensive ends the Broncos may consider in either the first- or second rounds.
1. Jonathan Allen, 6-3, 286, Alabama
Projected as a top 5 talent, but perhaps he’ll plummet because of shoulder concerns. The Broncos can only hope. Had 9.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss and returned an interception 75 yards – 75 yards! – for a touchdown in his senior season.
2.Taco Charlton, 6-6, 277, Michigan
One year, senior starter who grew up outside Columbus, Ohio, but wound up at Ohio State’s rival. A bit of a tweener who would have to eat a few more tacos to play the 5 technique.
3. Caleb Brantley, 6-3, 307, Florida
Came out after his redshirt junior season. An inside pass rusher although he may be more 3-technique defensive tackle.
4.Malik McDowell, 6-6, 295, Michigan State
Malik! Remember, it wasn’t until his fourth season that Malik Jackson became a dominant 5-technique. There’s been some concern McDowell’s production hasn’t matched his first-round skills. Skipped his senior year. Ran his 40 in 4.85.
5.Chris Wormley, 6-5, 298, Michigan
Very good against the run and coming on as an inside pass rusher – which makes him a possibility with the Broncos’ No. 51 pick in the second round.
6.Tanoh Kpassagnon, 6-7, 289, Villanova
Long arms at 34 ¾ inches. And for all that size he ran his 40 in 4.83. When Wade Phillips was the Broncos’ defensive coordinator, he sought defensive linemen who could run.
7. Montravius Adams, 6-4, 304, Auburn
Ran the 40 in 4.87 at the combine. Derek Barnett, considered a 4-3, pass-rushing defensive end, ran a 4.88.
8. Larry Ogunjobi, 6-3, 305, North Carolina-Charlotte
A redshirt senior as it can take a while for small college prospects to get discovered. Mike Mayock loves this guy, but it would still be a surprise if he went as high as the second round.
9. Vincent Taylor, 6-3, 310, Oklahoma State
The Broncos are known for finding sleepers at the 3-4 defensive end/defensive tackle position. Draftniks didn’t know much about Wolfe or Gotsis until the Broncos drafted them in the second round. Besides Taylor, who just started to come on before skipping his senior season, Notre Dame’s Jarron Jones, Iowa’s Jaleel Johnson or LSU’s Davon Godchaux could be second-day surprises.