Just how good are the new guys?

We have an underlying discussion going on at MHR that hasn't yet had a devoted story. When some names get brought up, we either rally to the player's defense or express some concern. Let's devote a post to the dicussion and have it out.

There are 5 positions on the team that (likely) have potential new starters, and six players. SAF may feature a new name (McCree or Manuel), but I would call the odds of this happening "even" to "less than likely".

As a part of The Quest, let's take a moment to focus on our newest players that have better than even chances of starting. The longer serving players may have a better formulation of what The Quest is, but it is the internalization by the new players that may take up to 5 spots on the roster that may make a substantial impact.

The positions, and the players I'm talking about, are:

MLB - K2 (or Niko)

In my camp are the folks that point to Seatle's love affair with the MLB who could have been a starter if it wasn't for who was starting in front of him already. A special teams standout, this guy was a team captain even though he was a back up. His speed is a key strength.

Those with concerns will point out that he was never a starter, and may not be able to shed blockers if our DTs are not improved.

SAM - Boss

Some folks will point out that Boss is a true SAM specialist, has the speed and build to match with elite TEs, and gains from having his own brother on the team.

Those with concerns might point out Boss's injury history, and may consider the family connection to be a disadvantage.

DT - DRob

Some may point out that DRob was never built to play NT in the NYJ's 3-4, and that he is a much better match for Denver. They might add that he has only missed 3 games in his career. At worst, his trade doesn't cost Denver anything if he's a bust, and not much more if he works out.

The most apt criticism of DRob is his medical report, which indicates he should be missing games he hasn't.

LT - Clady

Most folks like the idea of bringing in Clady. But how good will he be in his rookie year? Some think that he has an edge, having already played in a ZB system, and being the top (or near the top) OT in the draft, depending on whos board you look at. Denver claims that he was the #1 OT on their board, and seems to already have the trust (barring a camp downfall) in him to start.

Despite the fact that Foster was never really a fit for Denver's system, many will recall the dissapointment of the Foster pick high in the draft. Perhaps a more reasonable concern is wondering just how good a rookie OL can be in the Denver system without a couple of years to learn.

WR - Jackson / Colbert

A lot of MHR readers lean to the Jackson camp, though both Jackson and Colbert get mentioned elsewhere as potential starters. Chronic turf toe has hampered Jackson in the past, and Colbert's let down season in '07 gets blamed (by Colbert) on QB injuries and turnover.

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As a starting point, I'll share my views on each position. Jump into the comments section and let's hash out where we all stand.

First, I have the most faith in K2 of all of the (probable new) starters. His record looks great, and the only black mark is starting behind someone who is elite. If the DTs do their jobs, I think K2 shines. If they don't, he at least gives us the option to shine in pass coverage zones.

With Boss, I lean in his favor. Effective pass rushing may keep opposing TEs in to block, allowing him to pick his assignments more easily. If the TEs are kept in check, Boss will be able to support the run or blitz. At worst, Boss faces the elite TEs in the AFC West. If injury free, he is almost a certain upgrade over Webster. I tend to believe his speed and the chemistry he adds to the team by being family with Champ is a plus.

DRob is a question mark to me. I tend to think his medical report is lessened when one considers that he's missed less games in his years than most players. I also think he fits the Denver 4-3 scheme better than the Jets 3-4. (Further, I'm thinking that he may run more 1 gap than 2). On the other hand, what has he really shown so far? My take on DRob is mixed, but I lean in his favor for reasons other than his ability. First, the trade that brought him to Denver was low risk, and has high upside potential. Second, with the addition of Powell and expected improvement from young Thomas, I think the team still shows slight improvement even if DRob himself turns out to be a bust. At worst, DRob's value is as a lottery ticket that doesn't cost much, if anything. He is an extra variable that may benefit the team.

At WR I believe that Parker and Royal have the least likely chances to start. (I do feel that Royal will be the slot receiver of the future though). The discussion is betweem Colbert and Jackson. While much has been made of Jackson at MHR, I think that Colbert is (perhaps) not getting enough notice. No less than Coach Shanahan has bragged about the Colbert acquisition, and I won't be surprised if either man gets the start. I also wouldn't be shocked (though I would be surprised) if Colbert or Jackson started at #1 this year only.

The strength at WR for Denver is the sheer depth of WRs. Marshall at 1 or 2 and Stokely at 3 ensures good play, and three decent (if not great) players help to ensure that there won't be a steep drop off. One of the three (Jackson, Colbert, or Parker) is even likely to take off (in my view). At worst, depth is assured.

I would rank my concerns as (least to most):

K2 - little to no concern

Clady - little to no concern

Jackson or Colbert - little concern (no concern as a group)

Boss - little concern

DRob - mixed to some concern

Even with DRob at the bottom of my list, I remain optimistic overall. Many of these players have something to prove, and will be surrounded by good talent who themselves have a lot to prove.

So what do you guys think? Who worries you the most or the least? Why?

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