Ayers first pay off of Cutler trade

April, 25, 2009
4/25/09
7:15
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

ENGLEWOOD, Co. -- Robert Ayers is the first piece the Jay Cutler trade puzzle.

Denver took the Tennessee defensive end with the No. 18 pick. Denver acquired the pick, plus a third-rounder this year and a first-rounder next year from Chicago in the deal.

Ayers will get a chance to make an immediate impact. After Denver took Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno at No. 12, Ayers is the first piece of the Denver defensive reclamation project. He appears to be a fine fit for the 3-4 defense.

Denver coach Josh McDaniels said Ayers can play both defensive end and outside linebacker. The team envisions Ayers playing on all three downs and excelling as a pass rusher on third down.

McDaniels said Ayers is a versatile player who can help right away. Denver has a very young and unaccomplished defensive line. Ayers potentially gives the unit a huge boost.

"He's very physical," McDaniels said.

Meanwhile, McDaniels said one of the reasons why the Broncos drafted Moreno is his pass-protection skills. McDaniels said those skills are rare for such a young running back. Moreno's pass-blocking ability could keep him on the field for three downs, McDaniels said.

McDaniels said Denver could trade up from the No. 48 spot.

He also said the Broncos had no interest in drafting quarterback Josh Freeman. Tampa Bay moved up from No. 19 to No. 17 to take Freeman in case Denver wanted Freeman.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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