Broncos boost defensive line with trade for Robertson

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos acquired defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson from the New York Jets on Thursday for a conditional pick in the 2009 draft.

Robertson, the fourth overall pick in the 2003 draft from Kentucky, spent five inconsistent seasons with the Jets. He often seemed out of position in New York's 3-4 alignment.

The 26-year-old Robertson also has been bothered by knee problems.

"It's a great opportunity," said agent Hadley Engelhard, who's hoping to finalize a new deal for Robertson with the Broncos on Friday. "He's got the chance to showcase his abilities."

In 77 regular-season games (75 starts), Robertson has 319 tackles, 188 solo, and 14 1/2 sacks. He's forced four fumbles, recovered two, and had two pass breakups.

"He's a guy that, if you do take, there's going to be some question marks because if you take a look at his knees, he hasn't passed a physical, but he's still played 80 percent of his games," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said of Robertson last month at the NFL owners meetings. "So how big of a risk are you going to take?"

Denver has struggled to find a pass rush and has had a revolving door on its line for several years. Robertson figures to start along with ends John Engelberger and Elvis Dumervil and either tackle Marcus Thomas or Alvin McKinley.

The Jets acquired defensive tackle Kris Jenkins from Carolina in February, clearing the way to deal Robertson. They also have the sixth overall pick in Saturday's draft and could wind up with one of the top defensive linemen: DT Glenn Dorsey of LSU or DEs Chris Long of Virginia and Vernon Gholston of Ohio State.

The deal ended a tumultuous offseason for Robertson, who was nearly traded to Cincinnati last month. The Jets reportedly agreed to send Robertson to the Bengals for a pair of draft picks, but the deal fell through. Some reports said the sides couldn't come to terms, but it was also reported that Robertson failed the Bengals' physical because of knee problems.

"Dewayne did a lot of good things for us and in that position in the 3-4," coach Eric Mangini said, also at the owners meetings. "All sorts of guys play not only the inside and outside linebacker position, but the nose and end, and each guy adapts to their style and the system.

"I thought Dewayne did a lot of good things for us at nose where we didn't have a lot of luxury, and he did a good job at end.

"I like him a lot. I think Dewayne is a good player in whatever system he's in. He's able to penetrate and make plays."

The Broncos play a four-man front, which could better suit Robertson's style of play.

"He's not a 3-4 nose," Engelhard said. "This is a fantastic fit for him."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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