Uncertainty about Tebow leaves Broncos with draft dilemma

The Denver Broncos own the second overall pick in the draft and have many holes to fill. Picking defensive talent has never been a strongpoint of the organization, and there will be a huge push to fix a unit that ranked at the bottom of the league statistically. However, the toughest question Denver must answer is its long-term solution at quarterback.

Tim Tebow, a first-round pick last year, was not selected by new coach John Fox. Most members of the Broncos who were there when the Tebow pick was made are looking to distance themselves from the choice, which is a classic way for things to operate in the NFL.

New direction in Denver

With John Fox going back to a 4-3, the Broncos face several decisions. The most important could be where to go with the No. 2 overall pick, says Pat Kirwan. **More ...**

Last year, no one associated with the Broncos complained about the Tebow pick, thinking they were being loyal to the head coach, when in reality, not voicing an opinion or pretending you like a player is the highest form of disloyalty and disservice.

So Tebow is a man without much support in Denver, making quarterback a huge need. Can the Broncos be so focused on defense that they ignore an NFL team's most essential position? Or will they feel like Kyle Orton can manage the game well enough to allow them to replenish the defense, something near and dear to Fox's heart?

After ranking 32nd in overall defense, 31st against the run and 25th vs. the pass, Denver is switching back to a 4-3 scheme. In reality, the Broncos played that package in almost half of their games. Their best pass rusher, Elvis Dumervil, missed all of last season with a torn pectoral muscle. He will move from linebacker to end, but the Broncos will still be looking to enhance their defensive front.

The Broncos need to decide where outside linebacker Robert Ayers fits in the new scheme, as he was their best front-seven player when healthy (he missed five games in 2010). Ayers is not perfect, but he does play with power, something few Broncos can do.

With Fox being the most experienced football man in the building, I would expect the Broncos to strengthen his area of expertise with most of their draft picks and leave the quarterback question alone.

Things I think ...

» I think the Eagles believe they can get a great price for backup quarterback Kevin Kolb. They won't trade Kolb unless they get their price.

» I think if I was still in the league and needed a quarterback, instead of chasing Kolb, I would chase Brian Hoyer of the Patriots. If teams evaluate New England's Week 17 game against Miami, they'd see that Hoyer demonstrates the skills needed to be a starter.

I hear ...

» I hear there will be little action on former Colts safety Bob Sanders this week. His lack of dependability, which is why Indianapolis released him, will make teams skeptical of thinking he can still play.

» I hear that Sam Bradford and new Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had great conversations last week discussing the new offense.

I know ...

» I know new Titans coach Mike Munchak is right when he said the team doesn't need to rebuild. But Tennessee does need to repair. If the Titans can find a solution at quarterback those fixes won't take long.

» I know when Plaxico Burress is finally released and able to return to the NFL there will be several teams interested without knowing whether he lost any of his skills during his two-season layoff.

R.I.P. Ollie Matson and Dave Duerson

The NFL lost two good men late last week. Hall of Fame running back Ollie Matson died at the age of 80 after suffering from dementia. Matson was a medalist in the 1952 Olympics and was acquired by the Rams for nine players. Matson's skill set allowed him to be versatile. Longtime coach Joe Kuharich, who coached Matson in college and the pros, called him "the best all-around football player I've ever seen."

Former Bears safety Dave Duerson took his life, leaving most of his former teammates stunned and saddened. Duerson's ex-wife, Alicia, issued a statement on behalf of her family: "Our family asks that you please remember Dave as a good, kind and caring man. He loved and cherished his family and friends and was extremely proud of his beloved Notre Dame and ... (the) Chicago Bears. Please keep Dave and our family in your prayers."

Follow Michael Lombardi on Twitter @michaelombardi

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