We all love the Broncos and football, but we do it in our own way. If you enjoy the personnel and planning part of the game as much as I do, then you know that it is time to start looking at the upcoming draft.
Scouting never stops, but rankings are far too fluid at this point to start talking about who we want to draft where. We could start looking at players who have played enough to be individually evaluated at this stage, but it would be in the spirit of scouting.
The other part, which is more pertinent at this time, is figuring out our needs, and that’s what I want to discuss in this post. I really think we have seen enough of this team to have a general idea about our future needs. And while a few things will change before the season ends, pigs aren’t going to grow wings.
I am going to look at the O and D separately, and rank our needs by position. Keep in mind that you should consider a 3 year plan when approaching your roster.
- First the D-Line. We all know it—we need to put pressure on the QB. We need more pressure from the outside, and more pressure up the middle. There is just no way around it.
We are near the end of the line for Ekuban and Engelberger who will be 33 and 32 for the 09 season. We have Doom, and I truly believe that Crowder and Moss will be OK. But we need one more DE, and we need him to be more than just OK.
Marcus Thomas will be a fixture in our D-Line, and he is improving. We will have Robertson for a couple more years. He isn’t spectacular, but he doesn’t get pushed around either. Powel should return for next season (think of him as a bonus rookie), but he is a run stopper not a pass rusher. Peterson and Shaw will be 29 and 30—both career backups with no pass-rushing skills or upside. So we need one more DT, and it had better be someone who can penetrate the backfield.
- The second priority is getting a real safety, and the only reason it’s our second priority is our awful pass rush. McCree is a serviceable pro, but he is turning 32. Manuel is a bit too slow, and he is turning 30. Abdullah is a good backup, and maybe an average starter—I would only want him as a starter if there was a really good safety on the opposite side from him. We can’t really count on Barrett being more than a backup either. So we really need two safeties, but I will settle for a good one.
- The third priority is a starting MLB. Webster is going to be 31. He is a 9th year player, but he has only played 6 seasons, and he has just 25 starts to his name. Why would a guy be in the NFL for 9 years and have less than 3 starts per year? It’s because he is a very good backup, but slightly below average as a starter. The only plus side is that he doesn’t have the wear and tear of a typical 31 year old LB, so I expect that we could keep him around if we can’t draft a top notch MLB this year.
Niko is a younger version of Webster—a very good backup, but just not good enough to start. And my fear is that Larsen is much the same—although I am hoping that Larsen will stick around as a FB.
DJ, Boss, Winborn and Woodyard are good enough at OLB.
- My last position of need for the D is CB. Again keep in mind the 3 year planning and you will see that Bly and Baily will be 33 and 34. I would rather have a couple of 2nd or 3rd year CBs ready to step in when that time comes. Rookie CBs are a bit too risky for a team that hopes to be playing at the Super Bowl year in and year out. And that means we need to start drafting them now; Jack Williams is proof that Shanny agrees with me. We need two more over the next 3 years.
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Next is the O. We need to add depth if we want this offense to stay productive for a long period of time.
- We are stacked at OT with 4 young talented players, but we don’t have enough interior O-Line players for next year. Count out Nalen and Wiegmann—they are way too old for a team that wants to finish its rebuilding phase. We will have Hamilton, Kuper and Lichtensteiger with zero depth behind them. Those guys could turn out to be a great unit, but one injury and we are screwed. We need quality depth. We need to draft a Guard or a Center, and we need to sign a veteran for added depth (another Holland type signing would be nice). Good/decent quality guards and centers can be had in the mid or late rounds of the draft.
- We need depth at WR. Marshall and Royal are awesome. Stockley will be 33. Darrell Jackson will be gone (he signed a one year deal, and I don’t think he is too happy about not playing). We have no one else. That’s a huge void, and it needs to be addressed immediately. I doubt that we could sign decent veteran WRs anymore, since they aren’t going to get playing time. Those types go to places where they can shine and get that last contract. We need to draft for WR, but a late rounder will do.
- We need another blocking TE. Right now we don’t have a backup for Graham (both Sheffler and Jackson are average blockers). Also keep in mind that Jackson and Graham are turning 30 soon—they still have a few good years left in them, but we could do with a young TE to complement Scheffler. I admit that this is more of a wish than needs, but a good blocking TE can be gotten for a mid to late round pick. Well worth the price.
- We need to find another backup QB. We might get a decent QB late in the draft. If we do, I say go for it.
- Lastly, a stud RB. Torian might be that back, but right now we don’t know. What we do know is that we have 4 young good RBs in Young, Hall, Torain and Aldridge. So this isn’t a big need, especially given all our needs on the defense. But what would you do if on draft day Knowshon Moreno falls into our lap? I would say the heck with the D-line and go for it.
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Here is a summary of our needs:
1. A do it all DE
2. A penetrating DT
3. A do it all Safety
4. A Center or Guard
5. A #3 and a #4 WR
Less immediate needs
1. A MLB
2. Two future CBs
3. A blocking TE
4. A stud RB
5. A backup QB
To end, here is a look at our picks as it stands: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th (From Seattle), 5th (From Dallas), 7th, 7th (From Atlanta). Total of 9 picks. Our 6th went to NY Jets for Robertson