In the ever evolving how to fix the Broncos for next season, this is version II of my installment. First I will say the following, the sooner Pat Bowlen fires Joe Ellis or somehow relegates him to selling pretzels at the game, we will all be in a better place. With that said, I think John Elway will be named either VP or President of football operations next week, I still think that we will hire a real GM. Whether we keep Xanders as a financial consultant or assistant or can him, I think makes no difference.
With that in mind I will speculate that we hire DeCosta out of Baltimore to be the GM, the next hire will be Jim Harbaugh out of Standford as the HC. Many people are big on Wade Phillips coming in as a DC, but with John Elway basically getting him run out of town the last time the two were together, I don’t see it. I suspect that Rivera will get a HC shot somewhere and Phillips will probably return to SD as the DC. My guess is that we keep Wink as DC, he may not be my favorite, but I think he has been saddled with a talent poor defense and has done a decent job and should get better with experience and with some more talent. With that being said, I do think we bring back Kubiak as an OC, I think him and Harbaugh would have a very similar philosophy. So now lets go with the other player additions/subtractions after the jump:
Trade Champ Bailey for Logan Mankins G, NE, I know this may not be popular for Denver fans, I love Champ as a player, but I don’t think he wants to go through a rebuilding process in Denver and has no want to deal with the Broncos after his offer was pulled this past season. Mankins provides an instant upgrade on the O-line and brings some toughness and nastiness that we need.
Trade DJ Williams for 3rd rounder, I would say DJ would be worth more, but his contract and the fact he will likely be sitting out a few games next season has lowered his value. DJ is a great athlete but does not really understand the LB role IMO, he has not shown an ability to consistently make plays and takes poor angles and can’t shed blocks, he also would be better served playing in a 4-3 system that allows him to use his athletism better.
Trade Kyle Orton for 5th rounder, again I would play him this week and see if we can get better value for him, but that’s me. So with his past performance and contract, hopefully this can be done.
Dawkins, Graham, McBean, Hill, Brady Quinn, Marony, among others. If we can trade these players I would say go ahead, but that looks doubtful.
David Boss, TE, NY Giants – Have loved this kid since he came out of Western Orgeon, one of the most under-rated TE’s in the game. He may not be a focal point of the offense, but he makes key grabs and is solid blocking.
Bruce Gradkowski, QB, OAK – While not a sexy QB, after losing Brady Quinn and Orton, we need a solid back-up. Gradkowski may not be the greatest, but he is a gamer and he can fill in and he won’t be a threat to Tebow.
Dawan Landry, S, Baltimore – Again, not a flashy player, but Landry has solid instincts and has gotten to play with one of the best safeties in the league in Ed Reed. Landry is a good upgrade to the position. If we can get a guy like Whitier I would say go for it, but I doubt Buffalo lets him walk.
Draft – Armed with the trades of Orton and Williams we now have the following draft picks (one 1st, two 2nds. Two 3rds, two 5th, and a 6th round pick), I will assume we are still picking 2nd overall.
1st Round – Nick Fairely, DT/DE – Auburn – Again, it has been so long since we picked a top flight D-lineman in the 1st rounds, we need to upgrade this unit in a big way. Fairely looks to be the real deal and would likely start immediately.
2nd round – Jimmy Smith, CB – Colorado – We go into the backyard and get a very good prospect with hopes to pair him up with Cox (assuming he doesn’t get some serious jail time) or Thompson for the next 8 years.
2nd round – Christian Ballard, DE – Iowa – Not as much hype as his linemate Clayborn, Ballard has emerged this season and had a much better season than Clayborn. Ballard has excellent size and a great motor, paired with Fairley, should provide some very good upgrade at the DE positions.
3rd Round – Stefen Wisniewski, C/G – Penn State – I think JD Walton has had one of the most worst seasons of any Center I can remember for the Broncos. Wisniewski may not fall this far, as he is rated as one of the top Centers coming out; however, Centers tend to fall a little lower than they are rated. This provides a nice upgrade with Mankins to the interior of the O-line.
3rd Round – Dontay Moch, OLB – Nevada- I know a lot of people aren’t that high on this kid as I am. Some have seen him more of an athlete than football player, but I think we definitely are lacking athletism at the OLB, especially when Dumervil was hurt. Moch has some very nice pass rushing ability and would likely be brought in to replace Ayers on passing downs.
5th Round – Pat Devlin, QB – Deleware – He obviously would be a 3rd string guy his first couple years, but is a decent developmental prospect that may fall in the draft if we have an influx of juniors coming into the draft this year.
5th Round – Derek Hall, OT – Stanford – Somewhat undersized, he has played for Harbaugh and understands angles and leverage. Provides a good back-up at either side of the O-line and is very athletic.
6th Round – Tejey Johnson, FS – TCU – Again an under the radar guy, has a nice size/speed combo and comes from playing on one of the best defenses in the nation at defending the run, so he knows how to tackle and support the run.
So with the additions and subtractions, 2011 Broncos look like this
QB – Tebow, Backup – Gradkowski, Devlin
RB – Moreno, Backup – Brown, White, Ball
FB – Larsen
TE – Boss, Backup – Grownloski, Quinn
WR – Thomas, Lloyd, Royal, Backup- Gaffney, Decker, Willis
OT – Clady, Harris, Backup – Beadles, Hall
OG – Mankins, Kuper, Backup – Beadles
C- Wisniewski, Backup – FA or Walton
DE – Fairely, Ballard, Backup – Bannan, Vickerson
NT – Williams, Backup – Fields, FA
OLB – Dumervil, Ayers, Backup – Moch, Haggan
ILB- Greenway, Mays, Backup – Woodyard
CB – Smith, Goodman, Backup – Cox, Thompson, Vaughn
S – Landry, McBath, Backup – Johnson, Bruton, FA
Again, not an ideal team, as I still think we will need upgrades at NT, S, and likely upgrades on the depth on the D-line. But I think this is a more complete team, if it stays healthy, and gives us a better chance of being closer to the playoffs in years to come.