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Broncos Pre-Draft Roster & Needs Analysis

I am no expert, but here is my analysis of the Broncos needs.  My assumption was that the Broncos roster would be similar to the Patriot’s roster because we will have similar schemes on both offense and defense.  Of course, it will vary here and there.  Note that the number of players Denver will keep does not add up to 53.  I did not feel that level of resolution was necessary to project how many players they will draft, because their needs exceed the number of picks that they possess.  Unfortunately, injuries will make some of the hard decisions for the team.  Also, there are going to be some difficult cuts, especially at the OLB/DE position where a player like Crowder might not make it.  I will publish my mock draft separately.    

 

KICKER:

Patriots Kept: 1

Broncos Keep: 1

Keepers:  1 (Prater)

Draft:  0-1

Analysis:  At least for this year, I believe they will retain Prater.  If he doesn’t perform well, then we will be in the market for a kicker next year. 

 

PUNTER: 

Patriots Kept: 1

Broncos Keep: 1

Keepers:  1 (Kern)

Draft:  0

Analysis:  Kern performed very well last year and we appear to be set at this position for a long time. 

 

LONG SNAPPER: 

Patriots Kept: 1

Broncos Keep: 1

Keepers:  1 (Paxton)

Draft:  0

Analysis:  Well, of course we acquired their LS, so there is no need for further change.   

 

KR/PR:

Draft:  1-2

Analysis:  Arrington should handle KR duties, as long as he is healthy.  However, we need a second option.  Royal is superb, but I would like to keep him out of the return role to extend his life expectancy, especially considering how many balls he will be catching in the new offense.  Therefore, I look for Denver to draft a WR, RB, and/or CB with KR/PR skills.  A CB and WR would most naturally fit our needs.  There are some good undersized CB prospects available with those skills in the 2nd and 5th rounds.  An Ellis Hobbs-like player (5-9, 195) would be a possibility.  I can also see Denver drafting a deep threat WR with return skills.  Percy Harvin might be possibility in the 2nd.   

 

DT: 

Patriots Kept: 4

Broncos Keep: 4-5

Keepers:  3 (Peterson, Thomas, Powell)

Prospects: 3 (Clemons, Askew, McBean)

Draft: 1-2

Analysis:  Given the questionable nature of our defensive line, we may be forced to draft more than 1 DT prospect, especially if they are projects.  I think that we will be pleasantly surprised with Peterson, Thomas, and Powell, but we really need at least one star DT.  It would be nice to get one with pass rushing skills.  Unfortunately, the best two available to us (Jackson, Moala) are not known for their pass rushing skills, so a pass rushing DT may have to wait until next year.  I do not think that Gilbert will fall to us in the 2nd round. 

 

NT: 

Patriots Kept:  2

Broncos Keep:  2-3

Keepers:  1 (Fields)

Prospects:  1 (Parker)

Draft:  1-2

Analysis:  How many we keep will depend on the quality of the NT that we draft and the versatility of players like Thomas, Powell and Peterson to play two positions.  My guess is that Fields will probably start most of the season, but will be only adequate.  Unless we can move up to draft the only star NT prospect (Raji), this position will probably be one of weakness until we can address it next year.  However, we still need at least one large bodied full time NT to compete with Parker.

 

ILB:

Patriots Kept: 4

Broncos Keep: 4

Keepers:  3 (Williams, Larsen, Davis)

Prospects:  1 (Haggan)

Draft: 1-2

Analysis:  We need at least one solid ILB prospect.  I strongly believe that Larsen can be a solid starter, but with DJ coming off of injury and his ability to play outside if called upon, we are thin at this position.  I also question DJ’s leadership, which there have been many good debates about on MHR, and I believe that this prospect needs to bring intelligence and leadership to the middle.  This is an important pick for Denver. 

 

OLB/DE: 

Patriots Kept:  4

Broncos Keep:  4

Keepers:  0 

Prospects:  6 (Bailey, Dumervil, Woodyard, Moss, Reid, Crowder)

Draft:  1-2

Analysis:  We have as many question marks as we do prospects.  And, I do think that they are good prospects, but I do not want to assume anything, because you know what that does…  Bailey is injury prone, Dumervil, Crowder, Reid and Moss are learning a new position, and Woodyard lacks prototypical size.  It is very difficult to project how many Denver will draft, because we do not know what they think of these players.  It would be nice to draft at least one “sure thing” like Cushing or Matthews.  Of course, we also need a Merriman, and Everette Brown would be a nice acquisition.  We have several options in the first round to choose from, but we may and should make our defensive line a higher priority.  I would not be disappointed if we focus on the defensive line at the expense of the OLB/DE position   

 

CB/S

Patriots Kept:  9

Broncos Keep:  9

Keepers:  7 (Bailey, Goodman, Dawkins, Hill, Barrett, Williams, Bell)

Prospects:  3 (Moulton, Jones, Fox)

Draft:  2

Analysis:  I do not have high hopes for any of our prospects.  Therefore, we need to draft 1 CB, preferably with return skills (perhaps an undersized CB like Ellis Hobbs), and 1 CB/S prospect. 

 

QB

Patriots Kept:  3

Broncos Keep: 3

Keepers:  2 (Orton, Simms)

Prospects:  0

Draft:  1

Analysis:  I believe that we will either draft a QB with one of our picks in round 7 or sign an UDFA. 

 

RB: 

Patriots Kept:  4

Broncos Keep:  5

Keepers:  4 (Buckhalter, Jordan, Arrington, Hillis)

Prospects:  2 (Torain, Young)

Draft:  1  

Analysis:  I placed Hillis in the RB category, although he does everything.  I also believe that Torain will make the team.  Due to the likelihood of injuries, I think Denver will try to draft 1 RB, probably a back who can catch and has return skills, such as Devin Moore.  It isn’t our highest priority, but I wouldn’t complain about Moreno. 

 

FB: 

Patriots Kept:  2

Broncos Keep:  1

Keepers:  1 (Pinnock)

Prospects:  0

Draft:  0

Analysis:  Previous MHR stories about the Patriot’s use of the fullback have convinced me that Pinnock will make the team.

 

WR: 

NE Kept:  6

Broncos Keep:  6

Keepers:  4 (Marshall, Royal, Stokely, Gaffney)

Prospects:  3 (Foster, Willis, Jackson)

Draft:  1-2

Analysis:   Jackson might step up this year.  Injuries really hindered his ability to contribute in NE.  However, the Broncos face a difficult situation here with respect to the draft.  They really need two different types of receivers.  They need a deep threat and they need a tall possession receiver to backup Marshall.  NE is fortunate that Moss combines all of these skills into one receiver.  Also, the deep threat receiver would ideally have return skills.  Percy Harvin could fill the need for a deep threat/returner, and a player like Marko Mitchell (6-4, 212) could be a project as a possession WR.  I just think that it is tough to draft Harvin given our needs on the offensive line, defensive line, and in the secondary and the availability of many of the top prospects at those positions in the draft in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.  However, I do think that McD would have a lot of fun with Harvin. 

 

TE: 

NE Kept:  3

Broncos Keep:  3

Keepers:  3 (Graham, Putzier, Scheffler)

Prospects:  Bergen

Draft:  0-1

Analysis:  It looks like Scheffler will be traded.  MHR fan favorite Bear Pascoe would be a great addition, but there are other players in the 5th round that could fill a greater need.  Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if Denver drafted a TE. 

 

C/G: 

NE Kept:  6

Broncos Keep:  5-6

Keepers:  4 (Wiegmann, Hamilton, Kuper, Lichtensteiger)

Prospects:  3 (Erickson, McChesney, Murray) 

Draft:  2

Analysis:  I believe that the weakness of the interior of our offensive line has gone underappreciated.  Despite the low sack total last year, there appeared to be a lot of pressure allowed from the interior of the offensive line, especially by Ben Hamilton.  Also, Denver seemed to have difficulty running in short yardage situations.  We are positioned in the 2nd and 3rd rounds to draft at least one premier guard prospect.  We also need to take a G/C prospect in the later rounds.  The Patriots had a lot of injuries to their OL last year, so they probably kept more lineman on their roster than we will this year. 

 

OT: 

NE Kept:  4

Broncos Keep:  4

Keepers:  3 (Clady, Harris, Polumbus)

Prospects:  2 (Oldenburg, Gorin)

Draft:  0

Analysis:  Polumbus appears to be a solid backup.  Oldenburg is an unknown, but my guess is that he is going to do well.  Gorin looks like a solid depth player, and I believe they signed him to negate the need to draft an OT prospect. 

 

Needs Summary: 

K:  0

P:  0

LS:  0

KR/PR:  2

DT:  1-2

NT:  1-2

OLB/DE:  1-2

CB/S:  2

QB: 1

RB: 1

FB: 0

WR:  1-2

TE:  0-1

C/G:  2

OT:  0

 

Needs Analysis:  Obviously, Denver doesn’t have enough draft picks to fill all of their needs.  The main thing that stood out to me as I went through this is that we need to fix the defensive line.  If we do that, we can probably accept some risk at other positions like OLB and Safety.  However, if we do not upgrade our defensive line, our potentially mediocre linebacking corps and aging secondary will get beat up and by the middle of the season we will find ourselves unable to stop anybody and half of our starters on IR, ala last year.  We need a rock solid ILB prospect as well.  Also, I feel that Cutler’s mobility helped to negate a lot of the pressure he felt from the interior last year and we really need to draft at least one premier guard prospect.  We should take a flyer on a center prospect in the later rounds.  So, my priority of need is NT, DT, ILB, G, CB/S, WR, and OLB for this draft.  I am with styg, we should move up and take Raji at #8, Jackson or Rey at #12 (depending on which one is there).  But, I will post my mock draft tomorrow.   

 

I am anxious to hear your thoughts.   

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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