Now that the first quarter of both the NFL and college season is over, team needs are starting to take shape and college prospects are starting to make a name for themselves. As a Broncos fan, who watches every game and re-watches most of them, their off-season needs are starting to transform. With the mishandling by McX in the '09 draft (Quinn, Alphonso, etc) they made up for it in '10. They maneuvered magnificently throughout the draft and somehow left with 2 first round picks and 9 picks overall. More importantly, the players they drafted are looking like long time NFL contributors. With that in mind, it is time to start thinking about 2011...after the jump.
The Broncos head into the 2011 draft with 6 total picks, one in the 1st, two in the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th rounds. I am going to assume, using our 2-2 record, we are picking in the middle of the round. Here are my early season projections:
1st Rd) Cameron Heyward: DE, Ohio State. 6'6" 290lbs
A true 5 tech defensive end. While our Free Agent class has looked great so far into the season, especially in stopping the run, we need to inject some youth. Heyward has top 5 talent but consistency is an issue. Putting him in a locker room surrounded by veteran leadership (Dawkins, Bailey, WIlliams, Bannon, etc) should maximize his ability.
2nd Rd) Mikel Leshoure: RB, Illinois. 6'1" 230lbs.
Everyone knows the running game is in shambles. After watching the film, the blame doesnt fall entirely on the O-Line. There are holes but our backs have a tendency to dance in the hole and to be quite honest....look slow. Leshoure is big (230lbs) and will immediately help in short yardage. He also is rumored to run a sub 4.5 forty, which will automatically make him faster than Moreno. He also posses great hands and would be a perfect fit for this offense that has a huge need at the RB position.
2nd Rd (From Miami) Jerrell Powe: NT, Ole Miss. 6'2" 330lbs.
As stated earlier, the D-Line needs youth. Powe is a true NT with size and a great ability to collapse the pocket in the run game and the ability to get to the QB on 3rd down. He can spend a season or two learning from one of the best at the position in Jamal Williams.
3rd Rd) DJ Williams: TE, Arkansas, 6'2" 250lbs.
With the departure of Scheffler and the miss on Richard Quinn, the Broncos are in desperate need of a TE that can stretch the field. DJ Williams can create mismatches on the perimeter with his size and route running ability he could be a valuable receiving threat for Tebow for years to come.
6th Rd) Justin Boren: OG, Ohio State, 6'3" 315lbs.
We have a young O-Line but there are still some major holes to fill. Boren can eventually become the LG of our future as Beadles slides out to tackle. O-Line is a position that can be filled later in the draft and with Boren's Big 10 background should translate well into the NFL.
7th Rd) Chris Rucker: S, Michigan State, 6'2", 200lbs
You know McX likes drafting DB's. Rucker has great cover skills for a safety and that could match up well considering we play some very talented TE's in the AFC West. He could be a special teams stand out and eventually help replace Dawkins if he ever ages.