In Draft Tek's latest 2012 NFL mock draft, the Denver Broncos select Alabama middle linebacker Dont'a Hightower with the 25th overall pick of the first round. This would not be an unexpected development since Joe Mays is an unrestricted free agent and unlikely to be brought back; however, that doesn't necessarily mean the Broncos will look to draft a linebacker in the first round for a second year in a row.
Related: Updated 2012 NFL Draft Order
As Draft Tek points out, the Broncos do have Nate Irving, last year's third round pick, to take over as the starting middle linebacker. Yet, there are conflicting reports over whether he is ready to assume that role. However, if Hightower is "elite," as Draft Tek calls him, he might be too good for the Broncos to pass up, even if the idea is that Irving should become a starter.
As John Elway has contended since he joined the team as an executive, competition is good for everyone. Possibly selecting Hightower and having him compete with Irving would provide two linebackers who would want nothing more than to fight each other for the spot on the field.