Von Miller surprisingly moved up to the number two overall draft slot in most mocks this morning, and throughout the day it has been confirmed by most sources that he is the Denver Broncos' prime target. There is, apparently, some interest in trading down from the team .
The more I've considered the ups and downs of this selection, the more I've become convinced that it could be a brilliant choice.
This NFL draft figures to be highly unpredictable, with many analysts predicting a larger number of first round trades than fans have ever seen before. Interestingly enough, the Broncos have a number of holes (as any team with the number two pick would), but they also have a pair of early second round picks. So long as Denver is flexible with the 36th and 46th pick, drafting Von Miller is not only smart, but brilliant.
The Broncos have a couple of areas of absolutely pressing need. Defensive line is the biggest area of need, and linebacker is probably number two. To correlate with that, there are four players tied at the top of the draft board according to Scouts Inc., all of whom should be available to Denver after the Carolina Panthers select Cam Newton.
Those players are, in no particular order: Patrick Peterson (CB, LSU), AJ Green (WR, Georgia), Von Miller (Linebacker, Texas A&M), and Marcell Dareus (DT, Alabama). It would first seem like the Broncos should draft for their area of biggest need, being defensive tackle, and take Marcell Dareus.
However, doing so would completely ignore the relative strengths and weaknesses of this draft class as a whole.
There are, outside of Miller, virtually no superstar linebackers on the board. In fact, as far as linebackers go, this is an extremely weak class. The number two spot will probably be the only chance the Broncos have at getting an immediate impact guy who will play at a very high level for that position.
In contrast, this class is extremely deep at the defensive tackle position (and on defensive line in general). There are between nine and 12 players capable of playing on the interior of the defensive line who are projected to be first round picks, depending on which mock drafts one agrees with. Additionally, the heavy trading is going to lead to teams reaching for quarterbacks far too early (in what really isn't a deep quarterback class).
In the first round, most analysts believe we will see four or five quarterback selected. No mock drafts are currently showing that. It will be a product of the heavy trading. Teams will be reaching to fill their gaps in skill positions.
That means that by the time the Broncos select at 36, there will almost certainly be a very good defensive tackle there who shouldn't be. And they might even be able to get another one at 46.
Undoubtedly, it's a bit of a gamble. But if things work out the way they probably will (and seemingly should), the Broncos could make out like crooks; far better than they would if they spent their first pick on Marcell Dareus and their second pick on a linebacker.
A defensive revitalization seems imminent for the Denver Broncos, and it could start with getting Von Miller with the second pick.