Its four days into January and already I find myself scouring the internet for available talent that will help the Broncos for 2009. And already I've found myself compiling off season moves I hope Denver makes in an effort to recapture a trip to the promised land. Or at the very least a playoff game. After much soul searching and careful evaluation of our needs I have managed this list. I'm a list kind of guy.
Name: Steve Spagnuolo
Position: Head Coach
This guy is an absolute talent. Not only that but I truly believe he can come in and make an immediate impact with many of the defensive players we have. Yes, Denver's defense was abysmal this season. Yes, we lack quite a bit of talent in places we shouldn't, but I fully believe with Spags' brilliant defensive schemes we can turn what we have into something manageable. I know it doesn't seem like it, but Denver does have some very coachable young talent on defense . I'd like to see Steve come in and shape these guys. I'm talking about guys like Spencer Larsen, Josh Barrett, Wesley Woodyard, Marcus Thomas, and even Jarvis Moss. There is a lot of talent there and in the right hands I think they can all shine in this league. I'm still torn on the Shanahan issue, but for now its best to move forward I think and with our offense in play I fully believe Mr. Spagnuolo is the best fit for our team.
Name: Albert Haynseworth
We need him. He is the most dominant DT in the league and he will immediately improve our run defense. We will have to pay top dollar to get him, but he will be WELL worth it - especially if I get my first wish. He becomes a free agent this season as a condition of his making the pro bowl this season and with the Titan's success this year he may not be looking to switch teams, but an early playoff loss and the right contract might lure him into wearing orange and blue next season. He's a run stopper and a play maker - two things we haven't had at DT in too long. Marcus Thomas would also benefit greatly from his presence and leadership. A great addition to any team, Haynesworth might solve our run defense woes all by himself.
Name: Taylor Mays
I currently live in Southern California so hearing about USC football is pretty common place. And of all the talent Pete Carroll has recruited in recent years I believe Taylor Mays to be the best. Denver is in dire need of a playmaker at the FS position and Mays is just that. Coming in at 6'3" and 230lbs he has great size. But thats just the beginning. He runs a 4.32s forty. 4.32! His vertical is measured at 41"! This guy is talented, smart, and comes from a good pedigree. Plus he hits hard. Really hard. We lacked much of any production from our safeties this season and Mays will change that. He is going to be a force in this league and if we don't pick him up we'll regret it every time we play against him. With the 12th pick its unlikely he'll still be on the board when Denver is on the clock, but I'm not against trading up for him. I'm all for it to be honest.
Name: Julius Peppers
He'll be a free agent after this season and while I'd rather have Haynesworth it wouldn't be terrible to get Peppers instead - it would be quite the opposite. Denver needs a big FA signing this off season and we don't need an offensive one. Peppers would drastically help out Bailey and Bly by doing something Denver has been terrible at in recent years: pressuring the QB. Bly and Bailey are GREAT corners but they can't beat the both the QB and WR every play. Any QB/WR combo in the league will find open space a few times a game if given enough time. They need someone to make that ball come out quicker and Peppers is up to task. He's freakishly athletic and WILL force errant throws which will lead to turnovers (which we also haven't been doing well lately). He'd be a great addition, albeit an expensive one. Plus the grooming factor with Jarvis Moss is a huge plus. I haven't fully given up on Moss yet, so bringing a veteran DE like Peppers might be just what Jarvis needs.
Name: Darren Sproles
I've become a big fan of the "running back by committee" strategy. And I think given all our issues at RB bringing in a vastly talented back such as Sproles would be an absolutely terrifying prospect for the rest of the league. I'm not saying we don't have talent at RB - I just want more. Hillis proved to be an excellent power back and I think Sproles will be the lightning to his thunder. He's got excellent speed and more than that he plays with intensity and heart every time he's on the field. I just watched him almost single handedly dispatch the Colts and would love to see him on our side. Plus it doesn't hurt to take talent like his from the only division rival that matters. I know quite a few of you will wonder what I propose happens to the other six RBs from the 2008 fiasco that was our run game and to be completely honest I'm not sold on any of them. Selvin Young shows flashes of genius but he wasn't so strong before he got hurt. Pittman's getting hurt was a huge blow - he's a great power back and was a TD machine, but he's a bit on the older side which doesn't bode well given his IR status all last year. And were to begin with Torain? He could be a great talent and if he stays healthy I want him to remain a Bronco. But I can't bank on that and nobody else can. As for the others, well, only Bell really impressed me. He played well against SD and really demonstrated to me he wants to be in Denver. And not in a kiosk but on the field. But Sproles has taken up Tomlinson's rushing duties well and would be a perfect fit for our zone blocking scheme (if we keep it).
Oh and a side note: Sproles AND Royal on KR/PR? I just smiled as I wrote that.
That is all I have for now. I'm sure I'll find more as we approach the 2009 season. More than anything I hope we can find a coach whose up to the task of replacing one of the greatest coaches of all time. They're big shoes to fill and it'll take an extraordinary talent to come close.
Feel free to add your comments and I'll do my best to reply.
Bleeding Orange and Blue,