Q: What does the Broncos' defensive-line rotation look likely to be? They have Terrance Knighton, Kevin Vickerson, (Sylvester) Williams and (Derek) Wolfe at defensive tackle — or will Wolfe play more DE? They have Robert Ayers, Shaun Phillips and who at DE? Who is projected to start?

A: Mike, in this day and age, with offenses opening up the formation to throw in so many situations, defenses are finding a "starting" lineup isn't really the biggest issue to consider.

It's having the right personnel on the depth chart to play heavy when you need to and then to be able to get more speed on the field when that's the way to go. So, to that end, the Broncos will be disappointed, as well as in some serious trouble on defense, if all of the players you mentioned don't play a bunch and perform well while they're on the field.

Wolfe is an enormous key up front because of his versatility. He is a defensive end on the Broncos' depth chart, but defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has consistently said the Broncos routinely ask Wolfe to do things in their defensive scheme a defensive tackle would usually be asked to do.

"He's a good football player," Del Rio said. "He's called (defensive) end in our base system — he really probably plays 70 percent of his snaps at (defensive) tackle, maybe more, but at least that much. Maybe he's mislabeled. But as far as defensive tackles go, if you looked at their numbers and looked at what he did last year, which is really relative to what he does where he should be listed, he had a heck of a year."

So in a base look on defense against a more traditional offensive set, like a two-back, two-tight end look, you would likely see Wolfe at left defensive end, Ayers at right defensive end with Knighton and Vickerson at the two defensive tackle spots.

Del Rio wants the big guys at defensive tackle, to anchor things, take away the gaps and occupy as many blockers as possible, which is why Knighton, who played for Del Rio in Jacksonville, was a priority in free agency.

"Big body," Del Rio said. "I refer to him as a dancing-bear type, because he's a huge man that has the feet to go sideline to sideline. He's come in here hungry to get back to the kind of player we know that he's capable of being, that he knows he's capable of being."

As the down-and-distance changes, however, and if the offenses open up, Del Rio will use a variety of combinations up front, almost from down to down. When he goes to nickel (five defensive backs) and dime (six defensive backs), Del Rio will usually move linebacker Von Miller into a defensive end spot, or at least into a position to rush at the line of scrimmage.

Wolfe then usually moves down inside to tackle. Vickerson routinely left the field in those situations last season. Williams should get some work in pass-rush situations at times early in his rookie season as a defensive tackle.