Mitchell has experience playing for Vance Joseph and Bill Kollar
The Broncos are among several teams expected to meet with free-agent defensive tackle Earl Mitchell next week, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo. Mitchell is also expected to meet with the Falcons, Seahawks and 49ers, according to the report.
The interest on behalf of the Broncos makes sense, not only for need at the position but because of Mitchell’s experience with Denver’s coaching staff. Mitchell was with Vance Joseph and defensive line coach Bill Kollar in Houston and was reunited with Joseph again in Miami last season, when Joseph was the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator.
The Broncos entered the offseason with glaring holes on both lines. The need to improve the offensive line is among the team’s biggest priorities, but bolstering the defensive line to improve the run defense is also high on the list.
The Broncos had the third-best run defense in 2015, allowing only 83.6 yards per game, but they dropped to 28th last season, with 130.3 yards. Denver also stands to lose nose tackle Sylvester Williams and possibly veteran defensive end Vance Walker to free agency. Both are unrestricted and the Broncos last year declined to pick up Williams’ fifth-year option.
Walker was slated to be the replacement for Malik Jackson, who left for Jacksonville as a free agent last March. But Walker suffered a torn ACL in training camp and was lost for the season.
Mitchell, 29, was drafted by the Texans in the third round in 2010 and spent four years in Houston before he he joined Miami as a free agent in 2014. The Dolphins released him Thursday as one of multiple roster moves.
In his seven seasons in the NFL, Mitchell has totaled 206 tackles, 5.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Last season he played only nine games for Miami because of a calf injury that landed in him on recallable injured reserve in mid-September. He returned in Week 10 and played the remainder of the regular season and postseason.