Dumervil Healthy, Projected as Every-Down DE in 4-3

Elvis Dumervil

Elvis Dumervil, shown last summer, is expected to return to the 4-3 defensive end role he held from 2006-08. (PHOTO: MAXDENVER.COM)

INDIANAPOLIS – Elvis Dumervil is not only in the picture of the Broncos’ 4-3 defense, but John Fox believes he can be an every-down defensive end — the position he played during the first three seasons of his career under previous coordinators Larry Coyer, Jim Bates and Bob Slowik.

“I see him as a defensive end,” Fox said. “He’s done it before.”

Dumervil had a career-high 17 sacks as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense in 2009 before missing last season because of a torn pectoral muscle.

“He’s healthy,” Fox said.

Fox also projects third-year veteran Robert Ayers as a defensive end in the 4-3 alignment. Ayers has primarily been an outside linebacker the last two years but did line up as a 3-4 end on a semi-regular basis, particularly on pass-rush downs.

The Broncos’ new head coach said he saw Ayers as a defensive end when he evaluated him as part of the 2009 draft class.

“We have him penciled in as a defensive end. I think he was a little easier to evaluate as a defensive end coming outĀ of college because that’s what he played,” Fox said. “I have the utmost confidence he’ll be a productive player for us this coming year.”

With Dumervil and Ayers appearing poised to be the Broncos’ two primary defensive ends, it would seem on the surface that a pure 4-3 end like Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers would no longer be a high-priority target with the No. 2 overall selection.

But given the early stage of evaluation at which Fox sits, it would be unwise to rule out any potential candidate.

“I haven’t seen enough (of Bowers) I really haven’t studied enough personally,” There are some people making those comparisons (to ex-Panthers defensive end and 2002 No. 2 pick Julius Peppers); I’m just not one of them yet because I haven’t looked at enough. I’ll have to claim ignorance on that.”

Elsewhere up front, nose tackle Jamal Williams might have a future in the Broncos’ 4-3 alignment after spending nearly a decade as a 3-4 nose tackle with the Chargers before joining the Broncos in 2010.

“It’s actually easier a little bit in the 4-3 because you’re a little bit more shaded,” Fox said. “If you can play 3-4 nose tackle, you can do anything.

“Sometimes it’s not all two-gap; that’s the difference,” Fox added. “You play some two-gap, but not as much as you do in the 3-4.”

Fellow veteran linemen Justin Bannan and Marcus Thomas have experience as 4-3 defensive tackles after lining up at the end slots and are expected to join Williams in the scrum for playing time on the inside.

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About Andrew Mason

Andrew Mason has covered the NFL since 1999, when he worked as an editor on NFL.com when the site was managed by ESPN.com. He worked six seasons (2002-07) covering the Broncos on their official website and two (2008-09) on the Panthers' site. He began MaxDenver.com in 2010 and now contributes to CBSSports.com, The Sporting News and The New York Times.
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2 Responses

  1. Cannot wait to see him back at defensive end… he’s gonna be sucha beast

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