Broncos Bolster DT Depth with Bannan

DENVER – Sometimes, you’re not looking for greatness; you just want a guy who can do the job, be a solid pro and ensure you have depth.

That’s the case with veteran Justin Bannan, a long-time rotational defensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens whose career hit journeyman status in recent years. By signing with the Broncos, he changes teams for the third time in as many offseasons.

It might end up being four if his role is to ensure the Broncos have enough defensive tackles to effectively make it through this coming season and buy time for any draft picks at the position to develop. So it often goes for a player like Bannan — never a star, but solid when asked to produce and a quality presence in the locker room.

Justin Bannan

BANNAN: ... coming back, this time as DT.

During his 2010 season with the Broncos as a 3-4 defensive end, Bannan was a stabilizing presence in a chaotic situation. The Broncos’ front seven was in tatters most of the year, having never recovered from Elvis Dumervil’s torn pectoral muscle and the subsequent final, failed attempt at spurring 2007 first-round pick Jarvis Moss from all-time Broncos bust to steady-contributor status. Nose tackle Jamal Williams was effective in spurts, but was no longer the gap-clogging, two-blocker occupying force he had been inside. More was asked of Bannan than he’d ever experienced before, and he handled it — and the collapsing season — without complaint, albeit also without a sack.

Bannan has always been a good run defender, but expect him to be much more effective in the pass rush for his second Denver tour of duty with Dumervil and Von Miller now floating around the front seven.

At the least, Bannan should quiet people who fretted that not only would the Broncos be weak at defensive tackle, but that they wouldn’t have enough players at the position to get through a game — especially if they didn’t draft at least two players at the position between April 26 and 28.

Now, barring a wave of injuries, the Broncos should have enough to play, and play well — and won’t have to rely on a rookie to be named later to be rushed into duty beyond his first-year capabilities.

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About Andrew Mason

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

  1. Great signing. But I still think we HAVE to draft a DT in the 1st round. Time to finally inject some young talent up front.

    Then we can go best available in the 2nd…from RB to CB to QB….

  2. Mason,
    Do you think this move gives the Broncos the ability to draft BPA or do you think they’ll still draft a DT in the first round?

  3. Bill –

    It gives them that flexibility, but I still believe they’ll pick a DT unless there’s a surprising development (such as Wisconsin C Peter Konz dropping to 25).

  4. surprising development would be G-C David DeCastro I think Konz will fall because o his lasting strength . looks like the young man is out of shape and might explain how he never last a season.

    Yes Center looks bad to many but relize the last game of the season is not air to judge a player on !!!!!!!!!!!!!


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