For the second time in his short tenure as the Denver Broncos’ defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio last month saw the team take a defensive lineman with its first draft pick, stealing North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams at No. 28. (Williams was expected to be a top-20 pick.)
Last year, Denver traded down and took defensive lineman Derek Wolfe out of Cincinnati. The versatile Wolfe was a mainstay as a rookie, and he looks to have a promising career ahead of him.
Del Rio knows these two players are major building blocks for his defense. And while they are different types of players, Del Rio expects both to have huge roles.
“Both of these young men, you’ve watched them come in the building -- they both have approached it very similarly,” Del Rio said. “Come in kind of determined, serious, mature in their approach. I think you’re going to see Sylvester be able to come in and impact us in a similar way [as Wolfe did last year], but he has a little bit more in front of him. Terrance Knighton can play and [Kevin Vickerson] can play. So he has to come in and earn and fight for his time, much like Derek did last year with [Robert Ayers] and Jason Hunter. You never know how it’s going to play out, but when you come in with that mentality and that approach, that gives you a chance. That is what I like about the way he’s started here, that he’s come in here very determined, very serious, very mature, very much about his business. That is good for all of us.”