Denver, CO. The 2009 NFL Draft is proving to be one where the Denver Broncos wish they could have a “do over”. They had two first round picks, and decided to select an electrifying running back, as well as a standout defensive lineman. Both players played their college ball in the SEC, typically regarded as the best conference in all of America. If you haven’t noticed, the running back who was chosen three years ago has been spotty at best. He wears #27, has shown to be too indecisive with his running style, and is now simply fighting to stay on this roster for 2012. The defensive lineman, who was a first team All-SEC player in 2008, has mostly been a ghost on the field during his three-year NFL career. For this lineman, Robert Ayers, the time is now to either prove his worth and step up, or risk being released and labeled a “bust” for the rest of his career. His chances of remaining a Denver Bronco are getting slimmer as time passes, and this season is shaping up to be the most important year of his young pro career.
When a player is chosen with the #18 pick in any NFL Draft, the idea is that he will soon become an every down player who ends up being elite at his position. It may take a few years for the player to do so, but he will show flashes of being a great player along the way. Robert Ayers has shown a lot more instances of being lost and unproductive than anything else. He had a very good four years at the University of Tennessee, and recorded seven sacks in his final two years there. In his three seasons in Denver, he has a total of 4.5 sacks, with three of them coming in 2011. Ayers has bounced around at both the linebacker position, as well as his more natural fit, defensive end. As of this very moment, he is listed as a second stringer behind Elvis Dumervil at right defensive end. Now some would say that most players in the league would be listed behind a guy like Dumervil, who is a Pro Bowl caliber player. However, if Ayers had shown the ability to warrant starting, and proven that he deserved it, he would have been moved to the left side to be a starter there. Up until a few days ago when he tore his triceps, Jason Hunter was listed as the starter there. Hunter will now miss the entire season, and his absence opens up a starting spot, obviously. Theoretically, this would be a perfect time to give Ayers his shot. But immediately, the Denver Broncos didn’t slide Ayers over to fill that void. Instead, they put rookie Derek Wolfe there, who had a very nice first preseason game last Thursday. Wolfe has consistently shown the motor that he had in college, and seems like a guy who will be a fixture on this defensive line for many years to come. Bottom line, it is very telling that the Broncos moved the rookie into that starting spot, instead of a guy entering his 4th year in the league. Robert Ayers should be very concerned about staying on this team. The fact that Jason Hunter got hurt does help his chances all of a sudden, but if the lack of productivity continues, it’s really only a matter of time before he is let go.
The clock is ticking on Robert Ayers and his time in Denver. The fact that he is a former first round pick is one of the main reasons that he is still on the roster. If he were a late round pick, or an undrafted free agent, he probably wouldn’t even be a Bronco now. His desire has been very questionable, and he seems to consistently get outworked by other players with the same or less talent. The Denver Broncos and their fans are tired of waiting for Ayers, as he had better realize the time to finally step up is now.
Denver Sports by J Simp
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