NFL Draft 2012: Denver Broncos Should Pick Biggest Stud, Despite Position

Ben FletcherContributor IIIApril 15, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at the podium during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

"With the second pick in the 2011 NFL draft, the Denver Broncos select Von Miller, linebacker, Texas A&M."

And so it began. The beginning of a career in which Miller would record 11.5 sacks, be awarded Defensive Rookie of the Year and unite with Elvis Dumervil to form what we know today as "Gloom and Doom."

Although everyone was quick to admit that Miller was an outstanding player and worthy of a second-round pick, many questioned whether Denver should have drafted a defensive tackle instead of a linebacker with their first pick. Last year was much like this year in the way that the Broncos desperately needed to fill holes on their defensive line.

Today, no Denver Bronco fan is going to tell you that drafting Miller was the wrong decision, even though defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who was drafted third by the Buffalo Bills, had an impressive rookie season.

The truth is, Denver picked the biggest stud available in the 2011 NFL draft, and one that they knew would fit well in their system. Their decision worked out well, to say the least. The Broncos now have a "Doom and Gloom" that they can build the rest of their defense around.

The closer we get to the 2012 NFL Draft, the more and more I think the Broncos will avoid drafting a defensive tackle with their first-round pick. Perhaps the Broncos front office is considering, like they did in 2011, the high risk that comes with drafting a defensive tackle in the first round.

Let's take a look at some history when it comes to drafting a defensive lineman in the first round.

From 1982 to 2011, over the last 30 drafts, the Denver Broncos have selected a total of 40 players listed as defensive lineman. Only three of those players have gone on to the Pro Bowl in their career—Elvis Dumervil, Trevor Pryce and Karl Mecklenburg.

In the last five NFL drafts, a total of 17 interior linemen were taken in the first round and only two, B.J. Raji and Ndamukong Suh, made the Pro Bowl roster in the past two seasons.

There's more to the story than just a few numbers, but let's face it—drafting a defensive linemen has not paid off high dividends for the Denver Broncos, nor has it for the league as a whole in more recent history. Also, with the signing of DT Justin Brannan and the release of CB Andre' Goodman, the Broncos may be going in a different direction than many first thought.

One thing's for sure, the Broncos can't afford to blow this one. They need to make the best available option with the least risk and roll the dice. The Denver Broncos need to pick the biggest stud available in the 2012 NFL Draft.