In this year's draft, the worst-kept secret in the world was the Broncos' need to acquire a defensive tackle.
Yesterday, they finally did, signing Texas Tech lineman Colby Whitlock.
Surprisingly, he might stick around.
Whitlock played a lot of 3-4 nose tackle for Texas Tech. As you'll see from this tape, that helped him to develop a certain toughness that one doesn't see from 4-3 defensive tackles. In the 3-4, you need to be stout at the point of attack, you need to be willing to sacrifice yourself at even the slightest hint of a double team, and you'd better have a motor that never stops.
Whitlock has all of these qualities. He's listed at 6'2 and weighs in at 302 lbs., but plays bigger. He was a four-year starter, so the Broncos will presumably be getting a leader in Whitlock. His weakness, as you might expect from an undrafted rookie free agent, is that he's not a game changer. That's why he was projected as a 5th- or 6th-round pick. However, the Broncos could have done a lot worse than getting a tough defensive tackle who is used to facing a variety of running attacks each week out of the Big 12 Conference.
Colby Whitlock Highlights 1
Colby Whitlock Highlights 2 (look for #93, 3-4 NT in these clips)
Pros: Non-stop motor, has the ability to hold leverage against pressure, and will willingly eat up space.
Cons: Lacks ideal quickness, non-factor in pass rush, non-penetrating force, and doesn't stack and shed blocks consistently. His swim move could use work.
Straight Dope, Homie: The Denver Broncos' defensive tackle situation is in flux, to put it mildly. It's impossible to know how Whitlock fits into the mix at this time. He played 3-4 in college, but given his size and average athleticism, he would fit better in the NFL as a 4-3 defensive tackle. He has the capacity to fit into a rotational 4-3 on first and second downs. At a position of weakness (speaking as of this moment) for the Broncos, he's going to be in the running for a roster spot. His motor alone will ensure that. He reminds one of Justin Bannan early in his career.
Give us your thoughts on Denver's first defensive tackle of the free agent period.
TJ Johnson can be reached through telegraph, ESP, Spanish interpretor, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter if you want to see him mock "the man." He assumes you are following It’s All Over Fat Man on Facebook and Twitter, but if you are not, that’s nihilistic, man.