Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller was chosen second in the NFL draft by the Denver Broncos, who look to bolster their defense with their first round pick. As AP reported:
• The Denver Broncos will have quite a 1-2 pass-rushing punch as they try to climb back into the playoff picture after a five-year drought.
The Broncos selected Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller, the premier pass-rusher in this year’s draft, with the second overall pick Thursday night to help fix the league’s leakiest defense.
They’ll team the Aggies’ athletic playmaker with 2009 NFL sacks king Elvis Dumervil, who missed all of last season with a torn chest muscle a year after leading the league with 17 sacks.
“I feel much better, obviously, just injecting Elvis back into the defense, then (with) the addition of Von Miller,” new coach John Fox said. “We still have a lot of moving parts to get fixed, but I think we made a good step today to help our cause.”
The Broncos sorely need defensive tackles, but Fox said he won’t reach for one Friday and might even wait to address that need in free agency, whenever that arrives.
The Texas native did not get his draft wish, which was to play for the Dallas Cowboys, as Rick Maese explained:
• Most draft picks are careful to be politically correct in the days before the NFL Draft, and go out of their way not to ruffle any feathers. After all, potential employers are paying close attention. But defensive end Von Miller was born in Texas, raised in Texas and played his college ball at Texas A&M. It’s hard to pretend that he doesn’t have a preferred team.
The question was, would you mind if you weren’t one of the top five picks? “Actually, I want to play for the Cowboys,” a smiling Miller said Wednesday in New York. “So if I can go to nine, that would be great for me. I’ve never been worried about the numbers. I’m happy to have a chance to be a first-round draft pick. There’s not too many people who can be a first-round draft pick. Hopefully, I can go to No. 9, and I’ll be more than happy.”
Miller played defensive end in college, but many project him to play outside linebacker in the NFL, especially for a team that runs a 3-4 scheme.
“I’ll be more than comfortable with that,” Miller said of a possible position change. “I was in a 3-4 scheme my senior year. It’d be great to play in the same scheme two years in a row -- I’ve never played in the same scheme two years in a row -- so it’d be great.”
The NFL draft this year was more contentious than in previous years due to the ongoing disupute between the players’ union and the owners, with Roger Goodell hearing boos whenever he took the stage. As AP reported:
• Goodell was booed as he prepared to conduct a moment of silence for victims of the devastating storms that ripped through the South. He responded to their chants of “We want football!” by saying, “I hear you. So do I.”
The boos continued every time he stepped on stage for the early part of the first round, though they died down as the night went along. By the end, there was hardly a smattering of jeers.
Goodell smiled his way through it all, unfazed. Not even having to welcome a player suing the league could knock the commissioner off his game.
With the second pick, Denver took Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller, a plaintiff in the antitrust lawsuit filed by the players to block the lockout imposed by the owners.
“I’ve never had anything against Roger Goodell,” Miller said. “I just want to make sure football continues to get played. When I walked across the stage, I was meeting the commissioner. That was it.”
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