There are two linebackers on the Broncos' roster who have made 100 or more tackles in an NFL season. Wesley Woodyard is one.

The other?

Stewart Bradley.

You probably didn't guess that.

Bradley once was billed as a long-term solution for the Philadelphia Eagles who drafted him in 2007 and watched him quickly grow into a monster of a player. Now after a career-interrupting knee injury and a bad fit with the Arizona Cardinals Bradley has a dual mission with the Broncos: reclaim the upwardly mobile career arc he left in Philadelphia and win the starting middle linebacker job to start that process.

In less than two weeks of training camp at Dove Valley Bradley has taken a middle linebacker spot that was assumed not available with Nate Irving entrenched as the starter and turned it into a hotly contested position battle.
"It's competition" said coach John Fox. "We'll take a hard look at the tape and see who executed the best in the game situation and move from there."

Denver's coaches needed only practice tape and their eyes to justify elevating Bradley to the first-team defense and start him in the preseason opener Thursday night in San Francisco. He responded with six tackles — five solo stops — while playing much of the first half in the 10-6 victory over the 49ers.

For the Broncos this was a calculated risk with little downside. They signed Bradley to a one-year contract in the spring a deal that flew way under the radar with the acquisition of free-agent wide receiver Wes Welker grabbing all of the headlines.