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Broncos early draft look

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

This is the third in a series looking at the potential draft direction of the teams in the AFC West.

Denver Broncos

Drafting: 12.

Needs: Linebacker, defensive line, safety, running back

Possible first-round picks

Rey Maualuga, LB, USC: He is a standout player who would bring legitimate help to Denver's linebacking crew. The Broncos could also look at Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis. The Broncos were hoping both players would come out in the draft last year when they were picking 12th.

Taylor Mays, S, USC: We've seen play-making safeties change the look of an entire defense and Mays could be that player for the Broncos. Denver has longed for a stud safety all decade. It could get its man this year.

B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College: He is a huge plugger in the middle and Denver has been looking for his type of body for years. Raji could a good start to a defensive facelift.

Wild card: If Ohio State running back Chris Wells is on the board, Denver could be tempted. Now that Mike Shanahan is no longer in the fold, the team needs a true standout at running back. But the team's defensive needs are great.