Boy, you talk about a diamond in the rough...
Hey let's cut through the chase, these guys out here with these fancy iphones and such have a hard time making the jump, so I will eliminate it and get to the crux of the matter. In this world of modern technology people are able to access information at the speed of light, leaving very little doubt of who exactly you are looking for and what they do. Today I would like to stir up your imagination and get those juices of football fantasy flowing in a forward direction of what the Denver Broncos really want and need, not what we drool over and salivate to. Today's post will Take a look down the gun barrel of our Defensive Guard/End (DG/DE) position and see if the rifling needs more cleaning or if it will shoot straight. Because without a clean barrel, the gun might not shoot right and fall short or wide of the target. At this position, like all of the others, we want the to hit the bulls-eye on every shot.
First off, we'll profile the players with the least experience on the team and then end up with the potential starters. Get set, here we go...
Carlton Powell DT/DG/DE 6'3 326 lbs from Virginia Tech, drafted by the Denver Broncos the 148th player of the 5th round of the 2008 nfl draft.
Then head coach Mike Shanahan desperately needed some help with the run defense and picked OT Ryan Clady with the 12th pick of the first rd. The only DT's taken in the 1st were Glen Dorsey (KC @5) and Kentwan Balmer (SF @29), the picking's for DT's were slim in the first round. In the 2nd rd Shanahan picked Eddie Royal @42 passing up on Trevor Laws DT Notre Dame who was eventually picked by the Eagles @47. The broncos didn't have a pick in rd 3 and two more DT's were taken off of the board, Kendall Langford DT Hampton (Miami @66) and Pat Sims DT Auburn (Cin @77). How are these boys working out for their perspective clubs? There were 4or 5 more DT's taken while Shanny selected Kory Lichtensteiger OG and Jack MF Williams CB. Are you following me?
There wasn't a whole lot there to chose from and even KC's Dorsey has had his struggles. The problem most likely had something to do with teams trying to make the transition from 4/3 to 3/4 defense. As teams started to zero in on other 3/4 teams and their successes they were trying to figure out what players might fit the system. The 4/3 required a smaller, quicker DT to make the swim moves and get around the blockers, where the 3/4 needed a much bigger DT and DE to stuff the gaps and prevent the run.
I believe Coach Shanahan has dreams of Carlton Powell of becoming his defensive end in that system change. Carlton was never touted as a very good pass rusher, but his talents were in run stuffing and disrupting the pocket.
From ESPN: “Powell lacks the closing speed to develop into an effective pass-rusher. He misses the occasional open-field tackle, but plays with good leverage and has the upper-body strength to shed blocks. He is a better run-stopper than his size would suggest.”
From Rivals: “Powell is a solid fit for their one-gap scheme. He runs well for his size and can also bench press more than 450 pounds. He has a great motor and is known for being a hustle guy.
Coach McDaniels made it pretty clear that there was going to be changes on both sides of the line and what better way does that statement take shape? By cutting through the chase and releasing one of the main culprits of the unacceptable play (Kenny Peterson). The changes are going to make us better, and I believe him. There is a reason why Carlton is still on the team even after being released in September and resigned to the Practice Squad in November. Here is what NFL.com said about Powell's play at V/T;
While Tech has produced quality run-stuffing tackles in recent seasons, none has shown the ability to simply shut down the opposition's ground game the way Carlton Powell, Jr. can. How dominant has Powell been? In 73 plays that he made vs. the run, he held the opponent to minus-21 yards rushing. Since Powell was inserted into the starting lineup, Tech has led the nation in total defense the last two years (2005-06) and led the Division 1-A ranks in scoring defense in 2006, after placing second the previous two seasons.
In 106 plays at Virginia Tech directed at him, Powell's play was astounding;
In 51 games at Virginia Tech, Powell started 31 contests. He recorded 104 tackles (35 solo) with 5 1/2 sacks for minus 40 yards, 21 1/2 stops for losses of 75 yards and 30 quarterback pressures. He recovered two fumbles, caused three others and deflected a pair of passes. In 106 running plays directed at him, Powell's tackles resulted in the opposition in being held to minus-13 yards on the ground.
You can't ask much more out of your player and I have to wonder how it would of all worked out if he wasn't injured during Training Camp. Carlton barely got his feet wet before tearing his Achilles Tendon in a drill and would be lost for the season . . . And beyond...Atthe time of the draft, I thought Carlton Powell was our best and most important picks of it, and I wasn't alone. Our very own Jeremy Bolander had this to say in a post draft article;
And Shanny and Co. did an amazing job of that. They waited patiently for other teams to take the character risks, the motivationaly challenged, and the one dimensional, and let a gem like Powell fall right into their lap with their late pick in the fifth round. It doesn't matter how many picks separate Laws and Powell on draft day: very little separates them on the field. Denver got STELLAR value with this pick.
Powell is a big guy who can still get bigger, a rarity for late picks. Great competitor who plays to the whistle and gives his all every snap. He is a solid character guy, with no injury history worth mentioning, and multiple awards in his closet for having the most hustle. He doesn't go to the ground easily, and when he does go down gets up quickly. He is one of the few effective run stoppers who actually has a variety of pass rushing moves outside of the bull rush. He also one of the most consistent DTs at keeping olinemen out of his chest and doesn't suffer from bad leverage to the extent that many of the other DTs do.
I really hope we have seen the last (or should I say, the play) of Carlton Powell. He is a very humble human being and the type of player McD wants on the team, a versatile, smart (degree in foods and nutrition), touch and physical. Whether or not we'll ever see Carlton on the playing field doing what he dreams of doing, we will all know one thing, Carlton is a man of faith and his trust is in one higher than anything on this earth. At the end of his Combine interview Carton said this;
Powell: I’m a strong man of faith, I attribute everything to our lord and savior, and nothing would be possible without him.
I sincerely hope Carlton gets to fulfill his dream of playing for real in the nfl, and if he does, then I will stand tall with him and give him a big Mile High Salute!
Everrette Pedescleaux D 6'6 310 lbs, was born on January 19th, 1985 in Plymouth, Minnesota where he was a two-sport athlete (football and Basketball) and was a two-time all-conference and all-state selection in football and a three-time all-conference player in basketball while attending Robbinsdale Armstrong High School. In 2004 he was named Mr. Basketball of Minnesota He signed at the University of Minnesota in 2005 to play football and later that year before the season started he transferred to Northern Iowa. Everette was one of 15 college free agents to sign with the Broncos shortly after the 2009 draft concluded. If he ever gets a chance to play in Blue and Orange he'll probably line up on the outside as DE. He has a highlight reel on YouTube where he mostly lined up inside and was very active, frequently penetrating the backfield. He looks like he could play some 5-technique defensive end.
It may be too early to say whether Powell or Pedescleaux will ever get their chance to play, but with Kenny Peterson now gone and the acquisition of Jarvis Green (30) and Justin Bannan (31), it might make the going for those two. Look at it this way, they are diamonds in the rough and developing them behind the scenes might be what the doctor ordered. After-all Rome wasn't built in a day...And, good day...