Wow, McDaniels has gone crazy?! Not really, he just has a plan. Back in January, my post Draft a 1st Round Running Back with a terrible defense? You Betcha! had generated a great discussion. Before we had the extra pick from the big trade, I started to see the value of Knowshon Moreno. It appears through this draft that McDaniels is getting Denver ready for some smashmouth football. Why? Well there is a reason he passed on better Tight Ends for the best blocking TE available. There is a reason why he brought in bigger backs via free agency in Jordan and Arrington - I wonder if Young and Hall are already cleaning out their lockers. There is a reason that we drafted a couple of interior lineman. This new Denver team is being built to run, and I couldn't be happier.
The new regime held that mini-camp before the draft to see if these young kids on defense were really that bad or just young. I think he felt the latter and that there was no need to replace them, just teach them differently. First Nolan brought in Ronnie Fields, so they obviously feel good about him. Second, they probably wanted to get a look at Carlton Powell, who had off the charts run stopping college stats. They must have felt good about him too and other players and how our current players will fit into their scheme. Enough so that they were able to address different needs in the draft. In my post Time of Transition, I find some interesting information on Jarvis Moss...
Reports out of college imply that Denver may have misused Moss all along. This information is from a scouting report done by the Pittsburgh Steelers who inquired about his ability to play standing up...
"I told them I’m up for whatever (position)," Moss said. "Whatever my need is called and whatever is going to help the team win, I’m ready for it."
Had he ever dropped into coverage as a Gator?
"My position was called ‘The Fox,’ where I would drop into coverage during our fire zones," he said. "I did some when I was working out in Orlando. We did some linebacker-specific drills. It’s something I enjoy. My body moves well and I can run well and I’m really athletic, so it’s something I really enjoy. I’m looking forward to it if it’s my calling."
A scouting report from FFtoolbox.com...
"Moss has a tremendous upside and playmaker potential as a pass rusher off the edge.. He displays a quick burst off the edge, which allows him to set up wide of the tackle and easily shed the block to disrupt the quarterback. His quickness and agility allows him to slide down the line of scrimmage in pursuit of the ball carrier. Moss has the ability to drop into coverage based in athleticism and natural instincts. He will clearly need to bulk up to compete as an every down defensive end at the next level. Moss also lacks the upper body strength of most defensive linemen, thus often has difficulty shedding offensive linemen once engaged. He needs to develop additional pass rushing moves and avoid his dependency to beat his opponents on sheer speed alone. Moss is probably better suited to move to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme to showcase his athleticism and play making abilities"
Multiple scouting reports from the 2007 NFL Combine implied that Moss showed fluid hips and great movement in coverage, he was labeled a "tweener". Perhaps this change to a 3-4 may be like adding a first round pick from 2007, it was just on lay away
Some fans have obvious questions for some of the draft day decisions that at the surface seem silly and foolish.
Why trade a 1st round pick for a 2nd round player? That answer has already been discussed but I think it is two fold. One, money was a factor. They have scouts who analyzed the first round Cornerbacks next year and said, "are they going to be 10 million dollars better than Alphonso Smith?" Why Smith you ask? - well he is a ball hawk and when you win the turnover battle and the time of possession battle, you have a great chance to win. Plus, if you value him as a first round pick, how could he not be better than the 2010 corner after working with Champ Bailey and NFL coaches for a year?
Smith + NFL Experience including Champ Bailey + the million dollar savings is > a high priced rookie Cornerback. Well what about other players, like Mays or Spikes or whoever. Obviously when your entire secondary is over 30 you realize that you will be targeting a corner, so get a good one now, a proven ball hawk at a cheaper rate and allow to gain a year of NFL experience. Good move.
The second good move is the two DB's - The Safeties. One ball hawk and one "in the box guy". Learn from Dawkins and add youth to the secondary. Once it was determined that our front seven needed some tweaking not changing then the draft was destined to go in a direction that we didn't anticipate. We the fan just see the terrible results and automatically think our players stink. Imagine if we traded Jarvis Moss or Tim Crowder to a 3-4 team and they flourished would you be upset we didn't give them a chance in our system. After all they played under Slowik's system so how is it fair to judge their fit in our new system? This draft wasn't a neglect to team needs, it was an affirmation that we already have what we need, just need to use it differently.
Couple all this with the fact the new additions are all great character guys with great upside and I find it hard to say that this wasn't a great two days for the Denver Broncos.
Be excited Bronco fans, when the Broncos are on the road and the bus stops out in front of that stadium and Peyton Hillis and Knowshon Moreno are the first to walk off the bus - everybody in town is going to know "the Broncos are here"!