Oh how flawed a team the Broncos are. Between anything the defense does, the dropped passes, and the missed kicks, it's clear that this team cannot wait until Draft Day. As bad as the loss to the Chargers was, let's all be honest, the Broncos can really use the higher draft picks the loss results in.
The question becomes which defensive player will the Broncos take in the 1st round? And yes, they'll draft defense. If you really think Shanny will give up on this whole "slew of productive RBs that are dirt cheap" thing then you're crazy (or he is). That's not to say that they might not pick up a RB in the 2nd or 3rd (which they hopefully won't), but I'd wager anything on defense #1. Below I've provided some possible targets for the Broncos.
1st Round Targets:
S, MLB, DT
Taylor Mays, FS, USC
A great safety on a great defense. Almost a mortal lock to shine at the combine. He's large and quick (try 6-4, 225 who runs a 4.3). Combines the big hitting and the athletic ability to cover guys. Main downside is that he can miss tackles by going for the big play, however figuring the Broncos safteies made a combined total of zero plays this year, anything is an upgrade.
James Laurinaitis, MLB, Ohio St.
A tackling machine who decided to come back for his senior year despite possibly being a Top 10 pick. Since then his stock has slipped a bit due to no fault of his own. Critics will say he's not the most superstar athlete, but if this year's Broncos team has thought us anything it's that the simple plays not being made are the ones that really cost you.
Rey Maualuga, MLB, USC
Another fantastic MLB prospect that flurishes on the tough USC D. He's essentially the inverse of Laurinatis: tremendous upside but misses easy plays at times. Might be better suited as a ILB in a 3-4, but has a tremendous blend of size and agressiveness.
William Moore, S, Missouri
Fantastic cover safety. He can play either saftey postion in the pros. Had 7 INTs his junior year and then had 83 tackles this year. Can really do it all, but lacking the amazing upside of Mays.
SenDerrick Marks, DT, Auburn
Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama
B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss
They're all top notch DTs. The team can't stop the run. You do the math. Maybe the Broncos will even luck into one of these guys in round 2.
Out of all these guys I'm hoping for either Laurinaitis or Mays. Both would be starters from day one and greatly improve the defense's toughness and tackling. That and none of the high ranking DTs wow me.
I'm slightly partial to Laurinaitis just because I believe he'd make a greater impact from the very beginning, similar to how his former teammate A.J. Hawk ignited the Packers defense a few years back. Also, it's easier to be good with a terrible saftey than a terrible MLB.
All that said, the combine changes everything. Interviews change everything. Everything will change. Honestly, I just want to get my mind off the actual team and their play down the stretch for a while. I figured you might need to as well.