Zach Kerr a low-risk signing for a potential nose tackle

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos' chief football decision-maker, John Elway, had said he was interested in talking to nose tackle Sylvester Williams about re-signing with the team because nose tackle was a position of need in the team's free-agency plan. But Elway was also interested in talking to others about filling the job.

The Broncos' first on-site visit in free agency went to Earl Mitchell and the team negotiated with Chris Baker before those two players signed with the 49ers and Buccaneers, respectively. Williams signed with Tennessee, where he got a better deal than what the Broncos would have offered.

That put Zach Kerr in line for the Broncos this weekend.

Terms: Two years

Top 150 ranking: Not ranked

Grade: Another B for the Broncos. Kerr is not a marquee signing for the defense, but he is a young player who still has room to grow -- he’ll turn 27 in August. He’s started 36 games in the last three seasons, and he had one of his 2.5 sacks in 2016 in a Week 2 game against the Broncos.

What it means: With Williams’ departure, Kerr is in line to compete for snaps at nose tackle on early downs for the Broncos. The Broncos need more physical play up front; too often opposing offenses were able to keep the Broncos away from the most favorable pass-rush situations because they were able to move the ball well in the run game on first and second downs. The Broncos hope the signings of Kerr and Domata Peko remedy that.

What’s the risk: This is a low-risk signing. Kerr is a young player who has largely been healthy in his career. He was a restricted free agent and was not tendered an offer by the Indianapolis Colts. The Broncos have a player who could improve on already solid performance.