Broncos out to fix a deficient defense

ENGLEWOOD — John Fox would love for history to repeat itself.

The Broncos’ new coach sees parallels in Denver to his previous gig in Carolina, where he took the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2004, two years after his arrival in Charlotte and his selection of Julius Peppers with the second overall draft pick.

The Broncos own the second overall pick in Thursday night’s draft following a franchise-worst 4-12 season and personnel mistakes that cost Josh McDaniels his job as coach and de facto general manager.

The Broncos brought back Super Bowl hero John Elway as their chief of football operations, and he hired Fox as his coach and empowered general manager Brian Xanders in a front-office overhaul.

“I’m real excited. It seems like the stars have aligned,” Fox said recently. “In Carolina when I first went in 2002, they were 1-15. ... That team was in disarray. We had the second pick in the draft, much like we do here in Denver.”

He selected Peppers from North Carolina and the Panthers were on their way to respectability.

“That’s our goal, to repeat and (get) a player like him in this draft,” Fox said. “I think we’re set up very well to have some success.”

As it was in Carolina nearly a decade ago, defense is Denver’s top priority and the Broncos would love to land Marcell Dareus of Alabama to put between pass-rushers Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers and help turn around the NFL’s 31st-ranked run defense.

Dareus, who packs 306 pounds on his 6-foot-4 frame, is “a massive DT that’s versatile across the line of scrimmage” and the strongest of all candidates at his position, Xanders said.

The Broncos also took close looks at Texas A&M pass-rushing outside linebacker Von Miller and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, whom many consider the most talented prospect in the draft.



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