Draft 2012 – Denver Broncos Plan and Thoughts part 2


This is the second part of my personal analysis over Denver Broncos draft strategy.

In the first part, I motivated my personal vision on drafting based on best available player and to stay true to the board.

This year for the Broncos staying true to the board will be more difficult than last year, because of not drafting second overall (and at the beginning of any round) and because 2011 season showed a lot of promises, at every position.

This last sentence is really important. The way the season finished, winning in the playoff against Pittsburg (who really cares losing to NE?) and even making the playoffs by those 6 win stretch…all these happenings are not helpful to really understand the talent level the Broncos have.

I don’t think the Broncos have the real talent to deserve drafting at 25….but the team has guts….players played hard and with heart in all kind of situations, last minutes improbable comebacks or harassing losses for more than 30 points…..they always played with guts and it makes it harder to evaluate correctly both bubble players already on the roster and the rookie pool out there. A future rookie player could be more physically talented than a player already on the team….but will he shows the same guts and heart and will? This is impossible to evaluate as is impossible to evaluate which situation could produce in the locker room.

Again, this year positions of most glaring need are defensive tackle, cornerback, inside linebacker.

I would not add safety to the glaring needs because I have faith that coaches will develop a starter out of one between Rahim Moore and David Bruton (Raphael Bush could be in the mix too) and also because Quinton Carter is, to me, a starter already. I still have hope that Brian Dawkins could come back for another year….

Defensive end depth is also needed, as also for offensive line, outside linebacker, running back, wide receiver and quarterback positions.

This being said, even if I see a lot of mock drafts giving a DT to the Broncos in the first round, I’m not sure that it will be the path that the Broncos FO will take.

The scouting team did his diligence the past fall and is cleaning up the board with university all-stars games, combine and pro-days. This means that the Broncos board is filled with all the prospect that could be interesting for the Broncos scheme and now is the time of the year when athletic tests, tape watching and interview done by the FO together with coaches is trimming down the number of the prospect that will really make the Broncos final board.

If I recall correctly, Brian Xanders said last year that Broncos board for the 2011 draft were including more than 200 players. I guess that this list generally also includes CFA that will be signed after the draft ends.

By analyzing 2011 Broncos selection using pre-draft players evaluations between some of the best know mock sites, this is how, I’m presenting my opinionof how Broncos FO approached to each round last year:

1st round: best available player depending the scheme need: Von Miller (OLB).

2nd round: best available player dropped from late first – early 2nd rounds value: Rahim Moore (FS).

2nd round: best available player depending the scheme need: Orlando Franklin (RT).

3rd round: best available player depending the scheme need: Nate Irving (ILB).

4th round: best available player dropped from second day value: Quinton Carter (SS).

4th round: best available developing prospect: Julius Thomas (TE).

6th round: best available player depending the scheme need: Mike Mohammed (ILB/OLB).

7th round: best available player depending the scheme need: Virgil Green (TE).

7th round: best available player depending the scheme need: Jeremy Beal (DE).

 

So, as is possible to see, IMO, the Broncos selected six players using  the “best availble player depending the scheme”. This category I invented to list all those selection that apparently have been done not considering a more dire need on the roster, in terms of position.

Also is interesting that “Dropped” category (from the 1st round and third round) includes the selection of Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter, allowing to guess that both player were valued by the Boncos FO with an highr value that an available player at a position of need (¿defensive tackle somebody?).

In total, the Dever Broncos selected 9 players, 8 of which later made the active roster, 6 of them were their best available player at the moment of the selection, 1 (Julius Thomas) was a too good prospect to be developed to be passed up (at the end of the forth round) and 2 players were too good to be passed up (Carter and Moore).

Also the positional selection is really interesting:

3 linebackers (Miller – 1st; Irving – 3rd; Mohammed – 6th)

2 safeties (Moore – 2nd; Carter – 4th)

1 offensive tacle (Franklin – 2nd)

2 tight end (Thomas – 4th; Green – 7th)

1 defensive end (Beal – 7th)

It’s clear that the Broncos didn’t focused at all at position need.

Prior to the Draft the most glaring position of need for the Broncos were IMO (in order of dire need):

  1. Defensive Tackle
  2. Outside Linebacker
  3. Inside Linebacker
  4. Running Back
  5. Cornerback
  6. Tight End
  7. Safety

The only positions that were not a need were:

  • Wide Receiver
  • Quarterback
  • Fullback
  • Special Team (Kicker, Punter, Long Snapper)

Of course I was one of the many Broncos fans screaming to my laptop any time the broncos were missing to select a defensive tackle, and it happened seven times (Broncos selected Rahim Moore and Orland Franklin in back to back selections, so when they selected Moore I was quite confident that a defensive tackle would have come next).

At the end of the three days, I was really wondering who the Broncos were gonna play at defensive tackle, on the roster there were only Vickerson and Unrein. Denver FO actually had a great pickup in trading form Bunkley and signing cut Ty Warren also was a major step in a good direction (even if he didn’t play any snap this past year due to an injury ocurred during a pre-season game). Signing Marcus Thomas for one year was really good too. So at the beginning of the camp the Broncos had, on paper, the best group of defensive tackle in a long time.

This was just one example of how things could turn out to be different from the perception that a fan has about drafting. Any time the Broncos were selecting, there were on the “fan board” always defensive tackle that could be picked, but the broncos passed on them and on the interview they even clearly explained that they knew about the defensive tackle need but they felt better following their board.

Of course last year, thanks to the look out, Free Agency was coming after the draft, helping the Broncos on staying true to their board, but also is to be said that both Bunkley and Warren were not free agent at the beginning of free agency. The Broncos were able to get them without having a big financial impact that usually free agent signing demand. And that was really a great job, kudos to the pro scouting team and Xanders for play their cards really well.

So this year the situation is different, as normally in the NFL post season free agency signing period will happen before the draft, so staying true to the board during the draft is more complicated for the team that could not solve their needs through free agency. As to be remembered also that lately more and more roster movement have been done in June, when some signing bonus has to be paid. Off course at that moment nothing is set on stone, but still chances are there for trading or signing cap casualties too.

I even personally think that in this time of financial difficulties, it would help teams to schedule free agency after the Draft. In this way great organizations could use draft picks for stocking talents, leading eventual undrafted needs to be attended through free agency. I think it would be for the better of team financial situation.

As I wrote, this year Broncos glaring need are:

  1. Defensive Tackle
  2. Cornerback
  3. Inside Linebacker

I will analyze Broncos Talent and roster situation for these three positions in the next chapter.

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