Nate Irving LB DEN 2 Months

The Denver Post says fourth-year LB Nate Irving has earned the Broncos' starting middle linebacker job.

He'll be a two-down player with Von Miller and Danny Trevathan staying on the field in sub-packages, but it's still an accomplishment for 26-year-old Irving, who's been an NFL disappointment to this point in his career. This is also Irving's contract year. He finished last season with 41 tackles and one sack.

Nate Irving LB DEN 5 Months

Nate Irving currently tops the Broncos depth chart at middle linebacker.

The Broncos have spent wildly to upgrade their defense, but they didn't get in on three-down middle linebackers like D'Qwell Jackson, Karlos Dansby, Jon Beason or Daryl Smith. So they're left with Irving, who has performed better as a strong-side linebacker than a "Mike" in his career. For now, he only has to beat out Steven Johnson and likely a draft pick to win the gig.

Nate Irving LB DEN 8 Months

The Broncos will use a combination of Nate Irving, Robert Ayers and Jeremy Mincey to replace Von Miller (ACL tear).

Nate Irving LB DEN Jul 23 '13

Nate Irving will open training camp as the Broncos' starting middle linebacker.

The Broncos released Joe Mays on Tuesday, so Irving enters training camp as the clear-cut starter. A third-round pick in 2011, Irving has been slow to develop but is a candidate to take on an expanded role as a three-down linebacker with Von Miller facing a four-game suspension.

Nate Irving LB DEN May 21 '13

Broncos DC Jack Del Rio confirms Nate Irving will get the "first crack" at middle-linebacker duties.

It's just a matter of time before Joe Mays is released. "He's a bright guy, naturally a strong-handed guy," Del Rio said of Irving. "A thick guy." Stewart Bradley is the Broncos' only fallback option behind Irving after they decided not to address the position in last month's draft.

Nate Irving LB DEN May 07 '13

The Denver Post expects LB Nate Irving to get "every chance" to win the Broncos' middle linebacker job.

Reporter Mike Klis made a similar proclamation in January, but that was before the Broncos didn't sign or draft any serious competition. A 2011 third-round pick, Irving has mostly played on the outside and special teams to this point in his career. Joe Mays is expected to be released, leaving Stewart Bradley as the Broncos' only fallback option behind Irving.

Nate Irving LB DEN Jan 28 '13

The Denver Post says LB Nate Irving will get a shot to earn a starting spot on defense this offseason.

Middle linebacker is his only option with Von Miller and Wesley Woodyard entrenched as starters on the outside. Irving, a 2011 third-rounder, played mainly in an outside reserve role in 2012. Keith Brooking, 38, is a free agent after starting 15 games, and D.J. Williams and Joe Mays have lofty cap numbers and could be released.

Nate Irving LB DEN Aug 29 '12

The Broncos have moved 2011 third-round pick Nate Irving from middle to strong-side linebacker.

Many observers expected last year's 67th overall draft pick to start in the middle as a rookie, but Irving never beat out Joe Mays and is now listed directly behind Von Miller on the depth chart. Mays is entrenched inside, with undrafted rookie Steven Johnson behind him. Feel free to drop Irving in IDP leagues.

Nate Irving LB DEN Mar 16 '12

The Denver Post suggests the Broncos aren't ready to turn middle linebacker over to 2011 third-rounder Nate Irvin after all.

An early offseason report said the Broncos were high on Irving's "presence and potential," but he never got beyond special teams action as a rookie. Denver is hosting free agent Jameel McClain, who would be an ideal fit in the middle of Jack Del Rio's defense as a two-down run-thumper.

Nate Irving LB DEN Feb 12 '121 Comment

Sporting News' Andrew Mason suggests that the Broncos may be ready to turn over their starting middle linebacker job to Nate Irving in 2012.

The 67th overall pick in last year's draft, the Broncos are smitten with Irving's "presence and potential," per Mason, and he may very well have started games in 2011 if not for the lockout-shortened offseason. Denver instead stuck with Joe Mays, a two-down thumper who lacks Irving's range, playmaking ability, and cover skills. Mays may sign elsewhere this spring.