Broncos select safety, tackle in second round
ENGLEWOOD – The Denver Broncos are working on the Orange Crush defense Version 2.0.After selecting the best pass-rusher in the draft in Texas A&M’s Von Miller in the first round, the Broncos, under new defensive-minded head coach John Fox, traded down nine spots in the second round Friday night and selected UCLA safety Rahim Moore with the 45th overall pick.Moore, who twice earned All-Pac-10 accolades while starting all 37 games of his college career, said he looks forward to soaking up all the knowledge he can from veteran safety Brian Dawkins.One selection later, the Broncos chose offensive lineman Orlando Franklin of Miami, who said he was told he’d step in at right tackle in Denver after playing left guard and then left tackle for the Hurricanes.In the third round, the Broncos went back to fixing their deficient defense, choosing senior inside linebacker Nate Irving, who amassed 224 tackles at North Carolina State, including 39 1/2 for loss despite missing the 2009 season after surviving a serious car crash.The Broncos have assembled a potentially potent pass rush in Miller, Robert Ayers and Elvis Dumervil.”I might be able to take a little bit of pressure off of Mr. Elvis Dumervil and Mr. Ayers and all those guys,” Miller said. “I just want to be a sidekick and help those guys be the best.”Moore said he couldn’t wait to learn from Dawkins, a grizzled graybeard who will be 38 next season.”I look forward to the time that I’ll be there because I know he’s getting older. I wish I could meet him professionally where he could never age and me and him could play for several years,” Moore said.”I’m excited to learn from a Hall of Famer and Champ Bailey. These guys are my favorites – Champ and B.D. – ever. You know, I even have a picture of them on my phone and my laptop. I’m a huge fan.”The Broncos still have plenty of needs to address and now they have five picks on Saturday after trading the 36th overall selection to San Francisco for the Niners’ 45th selection, plus a fourth- and fifth-rounder.Denver had lacked picks in those two rounds.While the Broncos’ new brain trust of John Elway, Fox and Brian Xanders worked the draft board, 17 veterans showed up for work Friday morning at the team’s Dove Valley complex after the league reopened for business. Dawkins, Ayers and Spencer Larsen were among the starters who reported.However, a federal appeals court threw the NFL back into chaos later Friday as the second round of the draft was under way, granting the league’s request to essentially put the lockout back in place.The Broncos had told their players that workouts Friday and Monday are voluntary and the offseason conditioning program would start Tuesday.Now, that plan is in lockout limbo.Before the ruling, several Broncos took advantage of the chance to meet with coaches and collect their new playbooks.”This time off hasn’t allowed us to go over the plays, and I got that with me now,” Ayers said, pointing to a thick binder on the passenger seat of his Hummer as he left the facility Friday morning.With the lockout looming again, “at least we can be learning the playbook because we got a new scheme and we’re going to have to familiarize ourselves and get going,” Ayers said. “So, it’s definitely a bonus.”Speaking of bonuses, several players were set to start earning some of their offseason workout money beginning next week, a prospect that might soon be on hold again.”Yeah, you know, everybody’s making that out to be a big thing, but the biggest thing is that we want to be able to work out and work with the team,” Ayers said. “The bonus is a plus, but we definitely want to get over here and get things going and learn the playbook and start building the team.”Few teams needed this opportunity more than Denver to distribute playbooks and touch base with the players. The Broncos are coming off a 4-12 season, the worst in their 51-year history, which led to Josh McDaniels’ firing after just 22 months on the job.Fox hired Dennis Allen as the team’s sixth defensive coordinator in six seasons.He had to like the team’s approach to the draft.”We’re going to be a relentless defense,” suggested Ayers.Irving said the Broncos told him they like him at middle linebacker, the position he played last season following his horrific auto accident in June 2009.Authorities said he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his SUV, sustaining injuries that included a collapsed lung and a compound fracture in his left leg. After recovering from his injuries, Irving earned first-team All-ACC and third-team AP All-America honors after ranking sixth nationally in tackles for loss with 20.5. An NCAA-record eight of them came in the Wake Forest game.Irving has a cross and the date of the one-car accident tattooed on the inside of his left forearm and keeps a photo of his mangled SUV on his cell phone.”I look it and think about it every single day,” he said. “It just lets me know what I came through and that I’m here for a purpose.”—AP Sports Writer John Zenor in Mobile, Ala., contributed.
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