According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Denver Broncos are among the teams in on some of the top free agent defensive tackles. Those names include former Jets/Seahawks defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, former Chiefs/Falcons defensive tackle Dontari Poe, and former Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei.
Teams I continue to hear looking to add DT (Poe, Star, S. Richardson) with most fervor are KC, TB, IND, DEN, WSH
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 12, 2018
Canfora names the Broncos along with the Chiefs, Bucs, Colts, and Washington as the teams who are also in the defensive tackle market. Washington is meeting with recently released defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson so that could remove them from this list.
The Broncos are in the market for another interior starter after the troubling accusations against former second-round pick Adam Gotsis. That leaves the oft-injured veteran Derek Wolfe and breakout Shelby Harris as the Broncos defensive end starters. Veteran Zach Kerr and 2017 second-round pick DeMarcus Walker will also factor in as well. However, potentially losing Gotsis leaves a big hole in the Broncos defensive line as he was turning into one of, if not their best run defender.
So let’s take a look at the three free agents mentioned by Canfora.
Richardson is a 6’3”, 295lb interior pass rusher who played the 2017 season for the Seattle Seahawks. He is only 27 years old and now entering the prime of his career. So he could give a team a few good years.
He totaled 44 tackles 1 sack, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble for the Seahawks in 2017. During his five-year career, he has totaled 19 sacks. Richardson earned an 83.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus and was their 27th ranked interior defensive lineman in 2017.
The Broncos looked to acquire Richardson via trade a few times so they may look to get him one more time. He does come with some off the field baggage but is a talented player who adds some interior pass rush to your defense.
Dontari Poe played a majority of his career for the rival Kansas City Chiefs but played his 2017 season with the Atlanta Falcons. He is still 27 years old and still a massive human being at 6’3”, 346lbs.
Last season for the Falcons he totaled 39 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He has totaled 15.5 sacks throughout his six-year career in the NFL. Poe earned an 81.5 overall grade from Pro Football Focus and was their 35th overall ranked defensive tackle in 2017.
He will give the Broncos another massive presence to their defensive line who can play multiple positions. He is athletically gifted for a man of his size as well. So he could help your front seven in many ways.
Star Lotulelei played his entire career with the Carolina Panthers but now is expected to test the open market. He is a 6’2”, 315lb defensive tackle who is entering his sixth NFL season. He is only 28 years old and has a few good years ahead of him.
Last season for the Panthers Lotulelei totaled 25 tackles and 1.5 sacks. During his six-year career, he has totaled 11.5 sacks. Pro Football Focus gave him an ugly 49.5 overall grade last season for the Panthers which ranked him as the 109th ranked interior defensive lineman in the NFL.
Lotulelei never really lived up to his pre-draft hype and that low grade from Pro Football Focus did surprise me. If added, he should help you out in the run game, but not so much in the passing game. With Domata Peko and Zach Kerr already on the roster, I don’t see a need for him.