Both Rick Lewis and Steve Atwater would be in favor of getting a tough linebacker in the first round.
It’s getting so close to the Draft, and while all the guests on Broncos Country Tonight are asked to weigh in on the quarterback question, it’s clear to everyone that it’s absolutely not clear what the Broncos may do.
Tuesday night’s guests – Denver Broncos Radio Network’s Rick Lewis and Hall-of-Fame safety Steve Atwater – both could see the Broncos going with a linebacker if they stay at No. 9 and both like Micah Parsons as a potential choice.
“If you want to get fans excited, pick a guy at 9,” Lewis said, noting that fans are tired of the rebuilding process and want to see a pick in the top 10.
Although a quarterback may be the sexiest choice to a lot of fans, Lewis does like Parsons there, who he thinks is one of the best defenders in the Draft.
“I think it’d be hard to pass on Micah Parsons,” Lewis said, acknowledging the red flags for off-the-field issues. “For me, a linebacker with an attitude and an edge, there’s a lot of good things that come along with that, assuming he can stay out of trouble off the field.”
Lewis thinks there’s a good chance the Broncos could trade down, but for him – and really more for fans – that would be the one possible disappointment from the first-round pick.
“I would like to see them stay and take somebody at 9,” Lewis said, adding that fans are tired of the rebuilding process. “They’ll get a really good player. Who’s that going to be, we don’t know. I think it’d be more exciting and sexy than trading down.”
Lewis did note that if a quarterback they like is available at nine, that’s a very likely choice, but he’s excited for a linebacker.
For Atwater, if the Broncos stay at nine and don’t take a quarterback, he’s got his top choice(s):
“Micah Parsons or JOK!”
Edwards also asked Atwater about a comment from head coach Vic Fangio, who said the absence of the fullback has changed the way teams draft defensive players now; Speed is king for the linebacker position.
Atwater didn’t disagree but added that he’s always thought speed was important for that position, even when fullbacks were a big part of the offense.
“The best linebackers were the linebackers who could run, had the speed to cover, and could come up and meet those fullbacks in the hole,” the Hall-of-Famer said.
But Atwater also thinks the current NFL has a lot of room for some of the old-school linebackers who really know how to hit. And hit hard. (Oh hello, Christian Okoye!)
“When offensive teams decide to pound it and run it down their throat, you need somebody who can get down and dirty with them,” Atwater added. “Some throwback guys who are not only fast but have the physicality and courage to go up in there and put their helmet on an offensive lineman’s chin.”