With the twelfth overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, the Denver Broncos select:
Knowshon Moreno, running back from Georgia
This is the scenario I feel is the most likely, and most ideal all things considered. ARE YOU NUTS?!?! you ask, thinking of our already full stable of Buckhalter, Arrington, Jordan, Torain, Hillis, Young, and Hall. Stay with me here...
Moreno's talent is superlative. I take that as a given. If you don't see that, you and I are watching very different football games. I won't even try to argue that. Given that fact, is he worth #12? Absolutely. A 6-star talent like him is worth a top-ten pick. An argument could be made with some decency that he would be available at #18. Perhaps, but that's taking a HUGE risk with such a stellar talent. Moving on. So, will he fit in? Can he be our guy?
Edit 4/4/09: I am blockquoting this because it seems in the discussion on this and other posts that this fact is being overlooked. McDaniels has made it clear that no-one's job is safe, everyone will have to work for their spot on the roster, and he will utilize people according to the skill set they have and the situation they are presented with. It is impossible to overemphasize this point: NUMBER OF GUYS ALONE MEANS NOTHING. Neither does the fact that we just signed them this year as a free agent. What matters is need, and we DO NEED a guy with Moreno's skill set to move forward with our QB situation in flux.
It's obvious that the new look of the Broncos is team first above ALL ELSE. Moreno passes that test. So why use such a high pick on a position of little need? Well, it depends on what you mean by "need." The trio we picked up in FA are not a long-term answer. They are an attempt to bring competition and respectability into the Denver running game. For this reason, I am quite certain that Hall at least and probably Young as well will be casualties of the 53-man roster. Buckhalter is a good talent, but has injury questions. Arrington is best on ST, and has a very similar skill set to Hillis but completely lacking the ability to drag defenders 10 yards with him. Jordan-- well, I never was happy with signing him. I suspect he's there mostly for insurance and to teach the other guys the ropes. I would be very happy if he gets axed as well. Torain I am personally high on, but he needs to seriously improve his conditioning before he can be counted on. Hillis is a mega-stud but would be grossly misused if he gets more than 10 carries a game (and maybe 5-8 passes). He is best used in a motion set, or on a gadget/trick play, or on 3rd down, or at the goal line. Think of him as the Brandon Stokley of our running back corps.
It should be clear now that I believe that simply having a bunch of running backs by no means indicates there is no need at the position. In fact, I think that the time is nearly ideal for taking such a top-flight talent like Moreno now. Here's what I see: The Broncos transform, at least for 2009, into a run-first team. This gets the most value out of our QBs, who are simply not designed to carry the team on their shoulders. We run about 30 times a game. With a plethora of talent at the RB position, and a wide variety of skill sets, it allows us to use whichever guy is best in the situation presented to us. Also, it allows us to bring on Knowshon slowly, allow him to learn the ropes of the NFL and adjust to its speed. Last year was a statistical fluke that will not be repeated for at least 10 years: rookie RBs rarely make a huge impact, and doing so significantly decreases their overall lifespan. This way, we get a year to assess our status and enter 2010 with a loaded hand of cards.
Right about now, you're probably saying, "But what about guy X over here? Wouldn't we need him more and wouldn't he make a more immediate impact?" Well, let's look at those guys.
I just can't pull the trigger for him at #12. To me, that's reaching for him. He's a monster, yes. But his best quality, what sets him apart from the others at his position, is his explosiveness: his ability to deliver big hits. But the downside to that is that he leaves himself exposed to getting beat, and sometimes has trouble wrapping a guy up. To me, that is the most overrated quality in a DB, a lot like arm strength for a QB (just facts, no sour grapes). It makes for good highlight reels, but how much the team as a whole is better once you factor in the back-breaking runs given up or the drive-killing interceptions thrown... well, I can't justify #12 with that.
Not at #12, and absolutely not with the depth of talent behind him. Also, we can't overlook the allegations of steroid use, not to mention his injury history and subsequent lack of playing time. I would rather spend #12 on a best-available guy and get Conner Barwin, Larry English, or Clay Matthews later.
Not at #12. That's the only reason. The guy is the second coming of Brian Urlacher-- I'm really high on him. But, chances are high he will be available at #18 (whereas it is likley Moreno will be gone by then) and you can bet your sweet fanny I'm targeting him there.
Well, if he falls here, I may have to rethink my position. However, I think that scenario highly unlikely-- most drafts have this guy going just outside the top 5.
I see red flags all over this guy, and I would only consider taking him late in the first round.
Everette Brown/Tyson Jackson
I'm including both of these guys together because they are both at the DE positions. Honestly, I don't know enough to pass final judgment on these guys and this draft slot, but what I do know tells me a few things. First of all, there are strong indications that between moving DTs to the DE or using rush OLBs, we may have what we need at least for this year at DE in a 3-4 alignment. Second of all, it seems a bit early to bite on a highly-touted DE again, after the bust-in-the-making that was Moss/Crowder. I'll need a lot of convincing before I take these guys over Moreno.
He is the only one of the safeties worth considering at #12, but it's just not a good idea. Don't get me wrong, if he and Laurinitis are both available at #18, I would be pulling my hair out if I were McXanders. Still, not a better prospect for the position than Moreno.
I'm sure you have your guys who you think would be better deals, as well as your disagreements with me over Moreno's value. But hey-- that's the fun of football, right? I've exhausted myself now; let me know what you think.