O.J. Atogwe: Can He Run in the Herd with the Denver Broncos?

Holden BurkContributor IFebruary 27, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 26: Oshiomogho Atogwe #21 of the St. Louis Rams returns an interception against Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers at the Edward Jones Dome on December 26, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the 49ers 25-17. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

There's no official word from the Johns yet, but something exciting may be in the works.

The St. Louis Rams have released safety O.J. Atogwe and he is making a splash in the market. Reports are that he has already or will be meeting with the Redskins, Bills, Cowboys and Broncos.

So then the question is: How strongly should the Broncos go after him?

Last year, the Broncos' starting safeties were Renaldo Hill and Brian Dawkins. Between the two of them are 25 years of NFL experience. However, that's also 25 years of NFL wear and tear.

There's a lot of questions around Dawkins. He's been a terrific player, but is showing signs of aging as any player at his age would. It's been made clear by John Fox that Dawkins will be playing for the Broncos next year—at this point they need veteran leadership to right the ship.

Hill is a different story. His play is average and he's only getting older. The Broncos need youth in their secondary. Behind Hill on their depth chart is David Bruton, a second-year player who the fans don't know much about. At this point, the Broncos need proven performance in the secondary.

Atogwe will be entering his sixth season in the NFL and the next few years should be prime-time for him. He does a good job in coverage and makes turnovers. Something Denver needs sorely.

Atogwe could be a piece to the puzzle. For now, they can start Atogwe at SS next to Dawkins at FS. At CB they have Bailey and Goodman (or even possibly Patrick Peterson).

In time, Dawkins will retire and Champ will move to the safety spot opposite Atogwe. If they were to bring in Peterson who looks to be the most talented defensive player in the draft, it would give him time to learn under Bailey and take over the duties of the shutdown corner.

Atogwe is being pursued by several teams, but this seems to be another situation where Denver can step up and fill a hole and really build for the future.

With only six picks in the draft, and the possibility of no free agency, the Broncos need to fill holes with released players where they can.