Something that the Denver Broncos are facing right now is which of our needs is the greatest? Our horrible Run Defense last year begs a Defensive Tackle, Matt Lepsis' Retirement, asks for an Offensive Tackle, B-Marsh's injury, Walker's defection to the raiders and Rod Smith's "Retirement" demand a Wide Receiver, Signing Boss and K2 are looked at as great but leave us with a Linebacker corps who are all roughly the same age and what are seen as stop gap solutions at Safety mean a little attention there may be required as well. I know I did something similar to this last week but this time I am going to focus more on those five areas. It seems that they are the five we focus most on in our diaries and comments. I want to break down who we have as well as the draft potential at each position. Without further ado......
Our problem at safety isn't as major as other positions. The big thing here is that Hamza is as young as they come for us and he really is all alone. There are a few other guys on the list but for the diary's sake and for the fact that in my opinion these are the only guys we have that will make it out of camp. Marquand Manuel, Hamza Abdullah, John Lynch, Marlon McCree and Steve Cargile are the only guys currently on the roster that will probably move into training camp if we don't draft a safety. If we do I actually vote out Cargile. John Lynch is aging and while still the smartest safety in the league, has problems getting to the ball without early indications such as coming into the box. This leaves us with some stop gap solutions at safety and one young guy who could pan out into a nice safety. So how do we stand:
~Lynch will probably be a Strong Safety on Running downs
~McCree and Abdullah will probably be the other down starters at Safety
~The draft will probably yield us a Safety somewhere
Lynch on running downs is probably where we will see him. I could be wrong but I feel that even Lynch knows the younger guys have gotta play, unless somehow he comes out and dominates with such speed as we haven't seen since his first two years here.
I say this because we want to sign Abdullah to a long term contract and most people will not consider it as a backup. McCree is a very good Safety comng from a very deep football team. I could see these two as the obvious pre training camp starters. Something could blow people away come training camp and all of a sudden I am wrong.
I do feel that either CFA's or later round picks will yield us a good safety who can be #6 in the backfield. As it stands we look decent back here but we should be looking to our future as well. After all that now here is the Draft Breakdown:
~Phillips could drop to the second half of the first round. The top-rated safety eligible for the 2008 Draft, Phillips missed a portion of the 2006 season with a broken hand. Managed to pick off four passes in nine games. I think if the Broncos were to trade back and Phillips appeared on the board as the most talented player it would be a shame to see them pass him up for a second or third round offensive lineman.
~In a weak strong safety class, Josh Barrett may have vaulted himself over Tom Zbikowski, Craig Steltz and Jamar Adams. A 223-pound safety with a 4.35 40? Amazing. Barrett was benched for a portion of the 2007 campaign, but he regained his job later in the year. A monstrous safety, Barrett is one of the top defensive backs in the Pac 10. He started every game in 2006, notching three picks and 82 tackles. A nice addition to a smaller backfield that the Broncos have played with in the past. Denver would be wise not to pass this young man up if Phillips is not a good pick for them.
~You have to love the speed that comes with Caleb Campbell's size. Given his background (Army), I think we can assume that he has a great work ethic. He also has amazing hands and good leaping ability which is sometimes overlooked in a safety. Coming from a military background his work ethic and team spirit will be some of his prime attributes. As much as I am against military school draftees (mostly it is because they get out of their contract obligations for active duty and go reserve which is kind of a cop out if you sign an active duty contract) I would advocate this guy to be part of our team and he would come with a low 5 or 6 round draft tag
~Lynch started 56 career games and recorded 24 interceptions, as he was a key component in Appalachian State's recent playoff success. He's also a nightmare for the opposing team's special-teams coordinator; he has six blocked kicks.
As always the football guys at Walter Football: