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The Broncos Are On The Clock


A quarterback was selected No. 1 overall in three of the previous four drafts. It looks like it will be four times in five years if the results of the Fan Mock Draft hold true.

Auburn's Cam Newton edged Missouri's Blaine Gabbert in the fan vote to determine who the Carolina Panthers will take No. 1 overall. Now, the Denver Broncos are on the clock.

Like the Panthers, the Broncos are under a new regime led by former Super Bowl MVP John Elway, who is the new executive vice president, and a new head coach in John Fox, who was previously Carolina's head coach. Go figure.

The Broncos finished 4-12 and dead last in the AFC West in 2010. In fact, since former head coach Josh McDaniels led Denver to a 6-0 start in 2009, the Broncos are 6-20. In his final 20 games, McDaniels was 4-16. 

What happened? Start with the defense. Pro Bowl outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil was lost for the season in training camp due to a torn pectoral muscle. Gone were his league-high 17 sacks from 2009. The Broncos defense was last in the league in points allowed, last in total yards allowed and next-to-last in rushing yards allowed.

Fox hired former Saints secondary coach Dennis Allen to run the defense and the Broncos will shift next season from the 3-4 defense used under McDaniels to a 4-3. The need for interior linemen is paramount and with Newton off the board Denver can choose the best-of-the-best from this year's class in Alabama's Marcell Dareus or Auburn's Nick Fairley. If the Broncos want a top-shelf pass rusher, they can pick Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers. The Broncos were dead last in 2010 with just 23 sacks.

The Broncos could bolster the linebacker corps with the top linebacker in the draft in Texas A&M's Von Miller, but the need is for a middle linebacker and Miller is suited to be a pass-rush outside linebacker. Even though Champ Bailey was re-signed, the secondary could use an infusion of youth and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson would be perfect for that.

What about the offense? Quarterback Kyle Orton, acquired from Chicago in the Jay Cutler trade, threw for 3,653 yards with 20 touchdowns against nine interceptions. One of last year's first-round picks was used on the most polarizing player available in quarterback Tim Tebow, who got to start the final three games of the season with mixed results. Former head coach McDaniels loved Tebow. The big question now is whether Elway and Fox want to move forward with Tebow as the potential starting quarterback.

The other first-round pick was used on wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who suffered an Achilles injury and is out until at least the middle of the fall. Journeyman wideout Brandon Lloyd had a breakout 2010 season with 77 catches for a league-high 1,338 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Needs: DT, DE, DB, TE, MLB
All-Good: WR, QB, OL

Previous PicksNo. 1 - Carolina: QB Cam Newton, Auburn

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