After finishing dead last in the NFL in 2010 in team defense, the Broncos made that side of the ball a priority in the draft. Six of the nine selections the team made this April were defensive players, with two of those six — first-round OLB Von Miller and second-round SS Rahim Moore — becoming immediate starters. Now, six weeks into their rookie seasons, a third defensive pick is set to join the group.
FS Quinton Carter is currently backing up Brian Dawkins, but we hear Carter will be in the starting lineup at some point this season. The fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma had his best game of the season in Week Five before Denver's bye, registering five tackles. With Dawkins bothered by head and neck injuries, Carter's playing time will rise as the year goes along. The rookie told PFW he expects to be better in the second half of the season now that he's familiar with everything that goes in to being an NFL player.
"The biggest part was just learning a new defense in such a short time, but now that I'm fully understanding the concepts and getting some help from Dawkins, really watching and learning from him, everything's starting to really slow down," Carter said. "My anticipation is getting way better; my knowledge of what's expected is getting way better. So I'm satisfied with how everything's going and how it's progressing right now."
Dawkins, whom Carter called "a big brother" because of the advice the former Pro Bowler gives both on the field and in the meeting room, is near the end of his career. The Broncos see Carter as his replacement, who'll team up with fellow draft classmate Moore as the safeties of the future. That appeals to the rookie, who has said he's talked with his teammate about what upcoming seasons have in store.
"I feel like we'll be around here for a long time," Carter said of himself and Moore. "That's what I plan, because I plan on continue working and getting better. I love these fans and the organization. And he feels the same way; we've talked about it. So that's our plan, so we have to put some action to that plan and continue to work and improve."
Follow Eli Kaberon on Twitter