"The Chess Game that McDaniels and Manager X Just Pulled Off"
Denver fans were surprised that Denver took a RB with their first pick (though many, including some staff, really wanted this guy).
Many fans were surprised that we took a certain DE with the 18th overall pick.
Shock hit the community with Denver's trade of a first pick in '10 for a CB that some fans hadn't heard of.
What was Denver thinking? They out-thought the fan base (myself included), and confused the "experts" (except, perhaps, for a particular NFLN expert who seemed to love Denver's picks).
I'll tell you. Hang on tight.....
More below the fold
I wrote this comment under a fanpost before the draft even started -
People forget the natural progression of draft day.
1) The team likley makes several picks that few people saw coming.
2) Fans are flabbergasted!
3) On further reflection (about 3 or 4 days after the draft) folks research the new players, and find that they were great picks all along.
4) When camp rolls around, reports on the rookies are steller (for the most part).
5) Everyone now thinks the draft went great.
One thing to keep in mind: for all of the sleep we have all lost trying to mock and analyze the draft, the pros in the war room have done several hundred more times worth of effort and research. I’m prepared to give my opinions tomorrow, but in the context that I trust the coaching / management staff to know more about what’s going on behind closed doors than I do.
When I coached at the HS level, locals sometimes questioned a decision we made as a staff. We had the advantage of years of coaching, an (always) winning program, up front and personal insights into what was “really” going on in the locker room, at practice, and in the private lives of the players. But there were always folks that seemed to “know better” than we did.
Now I’m on the fan side of things. I’m going to question some decisions, but always with the respect that goes with knowing the team’s coaches really do know more than I do.
Xanders and Coach McDaniels tossed the "need" book out the window, and went for best available. Each of their picks is a "best" at something, and they each build towards an overall plan that didn't become clear to me until the Smith pick.
Denver's pick of a HB just built our defense, and covered for our new QB
The running back we just took is considered the best RB in the draft. SD doesn't get him, and the LT replacement in SD was just shot down.
Sure, I wanted defense with this pick. But we got it. The solid running game we should have for years to come takes time off the clock, and takes pressure off our newest QB.
The rest of our RBs are terrific, but are they all going to hold up this season from injury? If not, Moreno will be our superstar starter. If injuries don't happen, we get something like what the Panthers have - a Thunder and Lightning rotation of backs. (Did I mention that the Panthers are also an Ameoba Philosophy team, like the Patriots?) Imagine Moreno trading time with Hillis, and perhaps Torain!
Here's another point we might have missed: This pick must have had input from our famed RB coach (Turner) and our OL coach (Dennison). They always find "diamonds in the rough". But this time they wanted a first rounder, even with the existing talent on the team. What does this mean? It means the guys who bring us consistent 1000 yards rushers with late picks saw something that trumped anything else on the board. How elite can this guy be?
Beyond anything we've ever seen.
But that's just one piece of the plan. It all still wasn't clear to me. I didn't want a RB!
Denver then took a defensive lineman (DE)
Why? Everyone wanted a NT or a LB, right? Well wait a minute. What DEs are in the Broncos stable right now? There's a good chance that any player you named is being moved to OLB (Crowder, Doom, Moss). A few "experts" call Ayers the best defensive player in the draft. On the NFLN, I heard appraisals ranging from "top 3 player in the draft" to "best defensive" player.
So are we going to get upset because he wasn't the name or position we had penciled in? I've been consistent that the front 3 was our biggest need, and we've just spent a 1st rounder on 1/3 of that need.
This indicates two further probabilities.
- The available NTs in the draft did not impress the Broncos, or
- Denver has a secret weapon that nobody knows about. (Carlton Powell is a name bandied about. Injured in his rookie season, nobody except the coaches really knows what we have with him).
It was starting to gell. The best RB, the best defensive player... and then,
We trade a future first for some no name CB?
For a moment I was stunned. And then, the whole plan became clear.
Again, the commentary from NFLN got me to do some research. They pointed out (and I confirmed), that this guy is the best at something. Is he the fastest? No. He's even a little short for the position. Why, why, why?
He's the best ball hawking CB in the entire draft. Throw out the "measurables" that Denver relied for in the past few drafts, and look at actual performance. This guy gets ints, and gets them a lot.
Ted's comment says it all:
I love Alphonso Smith!!!! This guy has tremendous ball skils and anticipation, and will always be among the league leaders in INTs as a Number 2 CB. He's a starting nickelback right now. This is a great pick.
And now it clicked. Denver is going to be a ball control offense, and a a defense that gets turnovers. This was confirmed with the fourth pick that Denver had.
Denver takes a safety that we never heard of
Who else gets it besides me? Of course. Our leader (on site in NYC), who wrote:
The Broncos have a definite strategy so far in this draft, going after highly productive college players with a nose for the football. McBath is no exception, having picked off 7 passes in 2008 returning two for touchdowns.
Overall, McBath started 39 of 45 games in his career at Tech, mostly at safety. The Broncos needed to overhaul the secondary and they have done so with Smith and McBath.
It is true that neither of these guys are household names, but worry not Broncos fans, both of these guys have skill and ability. They know how to go get the football and were highly productive.
Folks, the staff of MHR gets it. Each of us had pieces of the puzzle. Zappa wanted Moreno. He wanted him like a little girl wants a puppy! LOL
I knew that fans would be dissapointed if Denver took the strategy of picking best available instead of players targeted by need. Did I see it coming? No. Was it the way I wanted to go? No. But after it unfolded, I understood.
Ted was perhaps the first to see thorugh the illusion of trading a first rounder for the best ball hawker in the draft.
Guru saw the value in our safety pick, and agreed with Styg's take.
And it doesn't end there! We still have picks left tomorrow. Lots of picks!
Get ready for a team that can run the ball. Get ready for a team that nobody wants to throw against (Bailey, Dawkins, Goodman, Hill, and a ball hawking nickle that might be a #2 CB someday).
If I'm right, we have the LBs in place already (DJ WIlliams, Barrett, Larsen, Bailey, Doom, Crowder, and Moss. That sounds like plenty). We spent high pick on the DL.
Folks, I feel great.
And did I mention that the Raiders drafted poorly? How about the Chargers (who don't get Moreno now to replace an aging LT). And KC had to leak that they were spending their only first day pick on a player that wasn't the best on the board: again, Ted:
This is not surprising, considering the team has been leaking this to the media for a week, so as to limit the criticism for reaching. Jackson is talented, and will fit well in the scheme that KC is implementing. This is philosophy over value, because there are better players available.
Denver fans, we had a great day. I expect more unexpected picks tomorow, and more brilliance. I'll sleep well tonight. The team is in good hands.
As I'm writing, Denver has traded in to get the last pick in the second!!!!
I sensed this in the force (I had e-mailed Styg to warn me if Denver did this while I was writing. As it turned out, we saw it at the same time).
NFLN crew agreed that Denver's picks may have sounded weird, but agreed that they are all solid players, and that that's all that matters.
So Denver just took Quinn, the best blocking TE in the draft (another "best").
So Denver ended up with 5 picks in the first two rounds.
I love it!!!!!