January 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; General view of Denver Broncos fans holding defense signs during the game against the New England Patriots in the first half of the 2013 AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Projecting The Denver Broncos Starting Defense

Super Bowl (48) XLVIII left a bad taste in the Denver Broncos mouth, especially on the defensive side of the ball. So they went out and made a splash this offseason in free agency, picking up three All-Pro caliber players that will make an immediate impact.

First they landed Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward to shore up the secondary, making for a strong tandem between he and Rahim Moore – who is coming back off of injury. Denver landed Ward on a four-year, $23 million deal worth roughly $14.0 million guaranteed.

Second, they would reject retaining Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and snatched away corner Aqib Talib from the rival New England Patriots. Denver and Talib came to agreement on a six-year deal worth around $57 million; $14 million is guaranteed.

Third and finally, they would sign top pass rusher DeMarcus Ware from Dallas Cowboys who was cut by his former club. Ware came to agreement with Denver on a three-year, $30 million contract with $20 million guaranteed, making their defense as strong as it has been in quite some time.

In all fairness to the defense the Broncos threw out for the Super Bowl blowout, they had five key starters missing due to injury.

Von Miller: Torn ACL
Rahim Moore: Leg
Chris Harris: Torn ACL
Derek Wolfe: Seizure-like Symptoms/Spinal Cord
Kevin Vickerson: Dislocated Hip

Now it’s time to take a look at how they will like up, projected wise and pending health.

LDE: Derek Wolfe
LDT: Sylvester Williams
RDT: Terrance Knighton
RDE: DeMarcus Ware

SLB: Von Miller
MLB: Nate Irving
WLB: Danny Trevathan

LCB: Chris Harris
FS: Rahim Moore
SS: T.J. Ward
RCB: Aqib Talib

Not to mention rotational players such as Kevin Vickerson, Mitch Unrein, Malik Jackson, and Kayvon Webster will also make a big impact on this teams defense.

It’s still unknown how much playing time first-round pick Bradley Roby will get, but he could see a lot of time in nickel packages.

The starting linebacker position as well could be up for grabs as well, regarding Nate Irving. I think he will get the first shot at the job since he has been familiar with Denver’s packages and schemes.

Just looking at the depth chart and the projected starting defense gets me pumped up for the 2014-15′ campaign. Denver did a terrific job addressing their needs on the defensive side of the ball through free agency (Ward, Talib, Ware) and through the draft (Roby, Lamin Barrow, Corey Nelson). Time will tell with this unit but in my mind they can be a top-five defensive club in this upcoming season.

Tags: Aqib Talib DeMarcus Ware Denver Broncos T.J. Ward Von Miller

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