With their two starting Defensive tackles hitting free agency in less than a month, the Denver Broncos are looking into the option of getting a new one, thinking that re-signing one of them or both might a bit too steep. Terrance Knighton of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks like a very possible solution.
Knighton isn’t just a name thrown in the air. In the John Fox – Jack Del Rio defensive system, the defensive tackles don’t need to be pro bowlers. They just need to big bodies who set up the tackles for the linebackers. The Broncos led the NFL (tied) with 52 sacks last season, which means for the most part, Justin Bannan and Kevin Vickerson.
Terrance Knighton, who has played for the Jaguars these past for seasons, was picked by Jack Del Rio in 2009 when he was still the shot-caller in Jacksonville. Knighton started in only 5 games last season, still recording 2 sacks and 20 tackles, which is pretty much where his career average production is at. He also forced two fumbles in a season everyone involved with the Jags would like to forget.
It’s not a sure thing that Bannan and Vickerson will be leaving. Bannan was paid only $1.3 million last season and even though he didn’t play in nickel packages, he had 42 tackles — two more than Vickerson and Derek Wolfe, who played roughly 40 percent more snaps — and led all Broncos defensive linemen with 4 pass deflections. Vickerson took a $1.2 million pay cut while adding nearly 50 pounds last season and had had two sacks, 5 tackles for loss and 5 quarterback hits.
There’s a chance the Broncos still re-sign both of them, but they’ll be looking at both the draft and the free agent market. Guys like Sharrif Floyd (Florida) and John Jenkins (Georgia) might be available during the end of the first round, which is where the Broncos are picking. Still, Knighton fits the mold Fox and Del Rio have right now in Denver, not to mention being a big package (330 pounds), the kind of size they prefer to have in their DTs.