Denver Broncos Draft Strategy Part 3 - The Big Board

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I hope that the past three days have shed some light upon the Broncos future draft strategy. One can only go so far with past tendencies or experiences.

I am of the belief that a person is the total sum of their knowledge and experience - the latter directly affecting a persons interpretation of said knowledge.

The many assumptions I was forced to make in my analysis were based on my belief that Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders experiences with their former teams will drive their knowledge-based decisions of the future. However, with each passing year we can build a more accurate profile on this tandem and how they approach the draft. So far, the sample size is far too small for anything substantial or accurate, thus the many assumptions.  In a few short weeks we will find out just how well I was able to get into their heads and predict their actions. 

I also hope that you will take the information I have laid out and use it to develop your own opinions, which will then improve your mocks, predictions, big boards, ect. I know my interpretation of the data will differ drastically from someone else's, but I too am only the sum of my knowledge and experience.

Perspective is important and each of us has a different one. I view the previous three posts as a foundation for the rest of you to build upon. Understanding the two men responsible for drafting future Broncos is far more important than each of our individual desires on Draft Day.

Final Analysis

My final analysis of the Broncos draft strategy under the Josh McDaniels/Brian Xanders juggernaut is rather simple - once you know what to look for.

The key is athleticism paired with need. Seems rather juvenile I know, but tell that to a Raider fan.

We must look at need and then look at what players exist on the board that fit into those positions of need. McDaniels is notorious about reaching for players that really fit his mold, so it's not just about the "expert" boards - yes, that means you Kiper.

Xanders really likes high character, athletic players at the skill positions. So, no Dez Bryant - whoops! You saw this last year with Robert Ayers and Alphonso Smith, so don't get upset when Mike Mayock exclaims how surprised he is and how stupid the Broncos are.

Certain traits seemed to appear in a majority of the draft picks I studied - regardless of position - and those traits will be important to make note of when trying to predict how the Broncos will draft in 2010.

Those traits are athletic, tough, nasty, high character, strong, good work ethic, leader, and fearless. Also, if a player is a beastly athlete but has injury concerns that caused their draft stock to fall, then be sure to mark them as potential Bronco draft picks. The Patriots were really good about picking up talent in later rounds by ignoring injury concerns and drafting based on talent alone.

Projected Big Board

Ok, so here is my Big Board for the Denver Broncos. Naturally, the list is entirely subjective to my own interpretation and bias. This is not the end all of Big Boards(Only McX has access to that information).  Feel free to take what you know and make your own list. 

Only players that fit into my narrow view of a "McD Mold" of a prospect made it onto my list, which is why you will see many dozens of players not even mentioned here.  The top echelon of players were not included either as I felt quite certain they would not fall to the #11 position.  And yes, I know I am likely dreaming to include Eric Berry on this board, but we all have delusions of some kind!

A few things I need to cover here. I crossed off all of the quarterbacks from the Big Board as it is now apparent that quarterbacks will not likely be drafted by the Broncos in this years' draft. 

I did make one tough choice here by crossing off Rolando McClain from this list. I had the Broncos taking McClain at #11 up until even a few days ago, but Doc's recent post finally caused me to do some more research about Chron's Disease.  I have learned that the disease, though manageable, is not nearly as simple to deal with as the MSM has portrayed.  Diet is only part of the equation and does little to mitigate the discomfort, it only makes it somewhat less. 

The biggest thing I learned was that the disease goes into remission, sometimes for years at a time.  It made me wonder if McClain, who was diagnosed in high school, has been playing in college with his disease in remission.  Having it resurface near the end of the season. My case in point was a "stomach virus" that supposedly almost made McClain miss the National Title Game this year.  He played, making two tackles in the biggest game of his career.

If you ask me, he and Alabama purposely hid his condition and McClain knew that missing the title game would be worse than playing in the title game, even if he had a bad game - which he did. After going over it all, I have nixed McClain from the list as "Too big of a risk".  Some may disagree and I hope his disease goes into remission, but the Broncos can ill afford to miss on any first round picks.

2010 Denver Broncos Big Board
1 Eric Berry DB 52 Kyle Calloway OT
2 Rolando McClain ILB 53 Kam Chancellor DB
3 Mike Iupati OG 54 Tony Pike QB
4 Dan Williams NT 55 Walter McFadden CB
5 Joe Haden CB 56 Jamar Chaney ILB
6 Brandon Graham OLB 57 Dezmon Briscoe WR
7 Earl Thomas DB 58 Lonyae Miller RB
8 Maurkice Pouncey OC 59 Shawn Lauvao OG
9 Kyle Wilson CB 60 A.J. Jefferson CB
10 Vladimir Ducasse OG 61 Phillip Dillard ILB
11 Taylor Mays DB 62 Marshall Newhouse OG
12 Jared Odrick DE 63 Clifton Geathers DE
13 Jerry Hughes OLB 64 Jeremy Williams WR
14 Golden Tate WR 65 E.J. Wilson DE
15 Jermaine Gresham TE 66 Dan LeFevour QB
16 Alex Carrington DE 67 David Gettis WR
17 Devin McCourty CB 68 Emmanuel Sanders WR
18 Kareem Jackson CB 69 Andre Anderson RB
19 Damian Williams WR 70 Ed Wang OT
20 Brandon Ghee CB 71 Brandon Carter OG
21 Matt Tennant OC 72 David Pender CB
22 Cam Thomas NT 73 Brandon Deaderick NT
23 Ricky Sapp OLB 74 John Skelton QB
24 Terrance Cody NT 75 Myron Rolle DB
25 Patrick Robinson CB 76 Nolan Carroll CB
26 Lamarr Houston DE 77 Chris DeGeare OG
27 John Jerry OG 78 Danario Alexander WR
28 Tyson Alualu DE 79 Erik Cook OC
29 Rob Gronkowski TE 80 Will Barker OT
30 J.D. Walton OC 81 Vince Oghobaase DE
31 Anthony McCoy TE 82 Travis Ivey NT
32 Donald Butler ILB 83 Micah Johnson ILB
23 Taylor Price WR 84 Chris Hawkins CB
34 Nate Allen DB 85 Nate Byham TE
35 Akwasi Owusu-Ansah CB 86 Chris Brown RB
36 Morgan Burnett DB 87 Kyle Williams WR
37 Tim Tebow QB 88 Michael Hoomanawanui TE
38 Greg Hardy DE 89 Brian Simmons OG
39 Reshad Jones DB 90 Kyle McCarthy DB
40 Torrell Troup NT 91 Mike Kafka QB
41 Carlton Mitchell WR 92 Deji Karim RB
42 Jason Worilds OLB 93 Chris Carter WR
43 Kevin Thomas CB 94 Sergio Render OG
44 Mike Johnson OG 95 Crezdon Butler CB
45 Andre Roberts WR 96 Keith Toston RB
46 Arthur Jones DE 97 J'Marcus Webb OT
47 Brandon Spikes ILB 98 Levi Brown QB
48 Darrell Stuckey DB 99 Reggie Stephens OG
49 Eric Olsen OC 100 Verran Tucker WR
50 C.J. wilson DE 101 Jeraill McCuller OT
51 Linval Joseph NT 102 Tim Hiller QB

 

Tim Lynch's Official 2010 Denver Broncos Mock Draft

Today I will also offer my official mock. It is a mock based solely on what I have learned about McDaniels and Xanders over the two months I have been researching them. I will examine team needs and comparing them to the data I collected.

I will not guess on any trades, though I do not believe for one second that Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders stand pat later this month with their six picks.  I also think we get a mid round pick for Tony Scheffler at some point - probably a fourth-fifth rounder. 

All quotes taken from CBSSports.com.

#11: Offensive Guard Mike Iupati, Idaho
#11 Mike Iupati
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6'5" 331 1st 5.24 27 27.5 3.01 1.84 7'8" 4.93 7.85

I really dislike this draft position. I will be hoping for the Broncos to trade back on draft day, but if they stand pat, the only two guys I could see going here would be Dan Williams or Iupati.

There is no way the Broncos should take Rolando McClain here. It's just too much of a financial risk for a guy who was too sick to be a factor in the National Title Game, too sick to work out at the NFL Combine, and too sick to perform well at his Pro Day. I feel for the guy, but my bias as a fan is hoping he gets drafted anywhere but here!

As for taking Iupati... not particularly fond of it, but given the choices on the board, I decided to address the one position Josh McDaniel's did little to address in Free Agency. Iupati has the versatility to play both inside and outside, which will give the Broncos the potential for depth in the future.

I feel like I have come full circle. I started out on the Iupati bandwagon, then went to McClain, then to Williams, then back to McClain, then back to Iupati. There must be a reason for that, so whatever misgivings I had were pushed to the wayside and I pulled the proverbial trigger.

Pass blocking: Good initial quickness off the snap. Provides a significant jolt to the defender with his punch. Too high in his pass protection but has the strong hands to latch on to the defender and ride him throughout the play. Good balance and lateral agility to slide with the defender and remain square. Can get himself in trouble with leverage by playing too high. Long arms and great lower strength to lock out. Rarely takes a step back even against a powerful bull rush, but this could be an area of concern against NFL defensive linemen, especially when Iupati fails to move his feet. Has developed into a savvy blocker. Looks to help out his teammates when not covered. Wants to hit someone.

The Broncos gave up a lot of sacks to the inside rush last season and Iupati would solidify the interior part of the line. There is a reason why the Patriots would expend a first round pick on a guard and it had a lot to do with pass protection. Add that to Iupati's ability to cover at Tackle could also help with the problem of depth at that position as well.

Run Blocking: Can dominate as a run blocker due to his mass and rare upper-body strength. Provides an explosive initial pop that often knocks the defender back. Has to do a better job of latching on, as he'll knock his opponent back only to see him regroup and get back into the play. Very good drive blocker when he plays with leverage and keeps his hands inside. Can physically remove the defender from the hole. Looks to eliminate more than one defender on the play and will release to the second level. Good effort downfield.

Anyone else think that Knowshon Moreno is praying to every single day for someone like Iupati to come in and open those 6 inch holes to 3-4 foot holes? McDaniels likes the inside runs, so he better fix the problem of collapsing running lanes before September! Iupati will do that.

Pulling/trapping: Surprisingly agile in getting out and blocking at the second level. Good body control and straight-line speed for a player of his size. Can re-adjust in space to hit the linebacker. Fails to lock onto the defender, at times, preferring to violently shove his target to the ground and look for others.

I like that Iupati wants to prove he is the bigger man in one-on-one battles. I could see during the course of a sixty minute football game where that kind of mentality could mean the difference between winning and losing. Iupati wants to dominate the other side and that kind of desire is hard to find these days.

Initial Quickness: Good initial quickness off the snap in pass protection. Even on the rare occasions when beaten off the snap, his long arms and wide-body make it difficult for defenders (including blitzing linebackers) to sneak through his gap. When beaten by quicker defensive tackles in the running game, has the agility and long arms to catch them as they slide by, typically knocking them down and pancaking them.

Iupati really is the best all around Guard prospect in this years draft. McDaniels and Brian Xanders would not regret picking this guy #11 overall. Mmmm, pancakes.

Downfield: Intimidating presence on the move. Good athleticism and balance for a man his size and can redirect to make the effective block when he gets close. Will misjudge angles at times, and miss his intended target. When he does so, rather than turn to stand helplessly around the pile, he moves on to the next target. Good effort to block downfield.

"Intimidating presence on the move". Yeah, I bet! If I saw a 330 pound man running full speed at me, I'd be checking my hip for the cold steel of my .45! Ha! Then again, I'm just a 175 pound guy who has no business on a professional football field, so a 330 pound man running full speed at me would constitute a threat upon my life. I wonder how many cornerbacks have cringed in utter fear when they realized there was no escaping Iupati's violent collision course? Ouch!

Intangibles: Made significant progress over the past two seasons and appears to be just scratching the surface of his potential. Size and athleticism combination enough that some will view him as a better offensive tackle or even defensive tackle prospect. Born in American Samoa and moved to the United States at 14. Began learning English (and football) at that time. Has only played football since high school. Signed with Idaho after bigger programs had concerns about his ability to qualify academically. Voted team captain by his peers for 2009.

Here is where Brian Xanders comes in. If Iupati is only scratching the surface of his potential, then he would fit into Xanders' mold of raw talent. He also fits into the McD mold of physicality and toughness. All around, the Broncos can't go wrong drafting Iupati #11 overall. He will ultimately become an all-pro linemen and could become one of the best guards in the league for a long time.

Click Here to visit SBNation's Mocking The Draft website to view Mike Iupati's draft profile.

#45: Defensive End Lamarr Houston, Texas
#45 Lamarr Houston
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6'3" 305 2nd 4.84 30 33.5 2.80 1.68 9'6" 4.71 7.61

This is undoubtedly a reach at #45; however, the Broncos have a unique need at Defensive End. That need nearly requires Xanders and McDaniels to look at undersized Defensive Tackles with a unique skill set to excel at the 5-2 Defensive End position. In my view, Lamarr Houston fits that bill.

Had I waited until the third round, Lamarr Houston and the few others who fit the bill would likely be gone. Guys like Alex Carrington. Tyson Alualu, or even Geno Atkins. I really love Alex Carrington from a character standpoint, but with Lamarr Houston or Tyson Alualu still available it didn't make sense to take him.

I reached for Houston over Alualu simply because I felt Houston was a better fit as a Defensive Guard. His strength and stoutness against the run were very attractive considering the issues the Broncos defense faced late last season.

Lamarr Houston is another player, like Iupati, who enjoys the physical aspect of the game. He seems to desire to punish the opposing players. I'd like to see him in the rotation on first downs or in short yardage situations, along with Jamal Williams and Marcus Thomas.

Pass rush: Extremely agile for a 300-pounder and works relentlessly to reach the quarterback. Gets under the shoulder of his man if lined up in the gap or slanting. Beats most cut blocks with quickness and strong hands and is able to recover from initial stalemate to get after the passer. Good backfield awareness. Gets his hands up to deflect passes, though his height and length leave something to be desired. Dangerous on twists inside. Short arms cause him to work harder to get off blocks against top-level guards. Must improve pass-rush moves.

Lamarr's success in college in the pass rush will not transfer over to the pros instantly. He will need to work hard on his technique for a year or two before he will be ready for every down duty. His ceiling is high and he certainly has the potential to grow into a Richard Seymour-like lineman.

Run defense: Excellent pursuit down the line. Upper body and hands are strong enough for him to pull down ballcarriers while engaged with blockers. Regularly lines up at the five-technique, standing his ground against larger linemen using a strong punch and leverage. Stays square to the line, able to move laterally while engaged. Lacks the bulk play inside on run downs at the next level.

He may lack the bulk to play inside on a 4-3 defense, but he would be a perfect fit in the Broncos 5-2. I believe Houston will be a better run defender than a pass rusher at the next level - at least initially.

Explosion: Has a good first step, but not elite first-step quickness. Lines up with two hands down so often he must prove to scouts he can get off quickly from the three-technique; his ability to penetrate on slants shows he's capable. Gets his hands into a blocker's jersey quickly and pushes them back using leverage and brute strength.

The good thing about strength is that it allows a player to mask minor issues. Houston will need a year or two to fully develop, but his pure strength will get him onto the field often, which will only help him close the gap on the rookie learning curve.

Strength: Massive upper body. Should wow teams pumping bench-press reps at the Combine. Plays strong and has a good punch with violent hands to disengage. Uses low center of gravity to keep leverage against the run. Holds up larger lineman and double teams but will be engulfed by larger NFL linemen, unable to disengage when head-up.

He wowed enough to bench 225 pounds 30 times. He would get engulfed by larger NFL Linemen, had he stayed a Defensive Tackle. Alas, he will be a Defensive Guard in the Broncos 5-2 defense.

Tackling: Very strong tackler, comes with aggression and does not let go once in contact with the ballcarrier. Agile enough to get through trash inside. Good flexibility and strength to bring down backs coming through the hole. Good burst to the quarterback once through the line. Does not break down in space and lacks the change-of-direction skills to capture elusiveness quarterbacks and running backs, but will chase them down with hustle and good straight-line speed.

This says it all. The guy has a nonstop motor. He has the desire to excel. He will be a guy who will go full bore from start to finish. That is the type of player we have missed on the Broncos defense for several years. The Patriots defense was a bunch of blue collar guys working their asses off all year long. I think Houston would be just another one of those blue collar guys that McDaniels is looking for to rebuild the Orange Crush.

Intangibles: Very competitive. Has an above-average motor and is willing to play hurt. Generally quiet, but took over vocal defensive line leadership role as a senior. Suspended for one game in 2008 after DWI arrest. Parents are both ministers.

Sounds like a well rounded individual who loves to compete. What's not to like about that? The DWI business isn't a concern. In fact, what do you have to do to get a DWI anyway? Anything major is a DUI, so what was he on? Cough syrup?? It doesn't matter. It's the only black mark on his record and it was likely a bad choice not ever repeated.

Click Here to visit SBNation's Mocking The Draft website to view Lamarr Houston's draft profile.

#80: Offensive Center Matt Tennant, Boston College
#80 Matt Tennant
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6'5" 300 2-3 5.15 27 25 2.89 1.76 8'2" 4.62 7.60

I know many of you don't think Tennant will last this far, but if he doesn't then change the name to J.D. Walton. Either way, the Broncos cannot leave the third round without a center.

In the worst case scenario, with both Tennant and Walton gone by the time the 80th pick in the draft rolls around, then McDaniels and Xanders will need to reach and take Eric Olsen.

Crazy? Maybe not. The Broncos do not have a starting center on the roster. Sure there has been talk of shifting Seth Olsen over, but is he really a starting center? Do we want to wait until September to find out?

Lots of questions there. The simple fact is, there is a big dropoff in talent after the first three centers. The fourth, Eric Olsen, is serviceable, but after him the talent level drops off a freakin' cliff!

Which is why the Broncos must wait no later than the third round to pick up a true center. If they pass and wait until the fourth round, then Eric Olsen might be gone. If that happens, the Broncos are up a certain creek without a paddle.

Therefore, with the 80th pick in the draft the Broncos select Matt Tennant. Or JD Walton. Or Eric Olsen. For now, I'll go with my favorite of the three.

Pass blocking: Good hand punch to get the defender off-balance and shows some nastiness in attempting to de-cleat the defender when the opportunity arises. Good lateral agility to mirror the defender. Keeps his shoulders square and plays with leverage and balance due to proper knee bend. Plays high and can get in trouble anchoring against shorter, powerful defensive tackles.

Tennant fights hard to protect the quarterback and after watching the interior of the Broncos offensive line collapse time after time it would be nice to see domination the likes of which we haven't seen since Tom Nalen. He will need to work on his technique, but he will be able to start day one.

Run blocking: Moderate and improving strength to wall-off and sustain. Can turn and control his assignment to keep him from making the play. Flashes some explosiveness in his initial pop, but needs to add more strength in his upper body to sustain blocks longer.

He appears to be suited well for a zone-blocking system, but with his size and a little work on blocking techniques, he could become a solid power run blocker. I'm curious to see how he handles the bigger Nose Tackles in the NFL - that will be no easy task.

Pulling/trapping: Efficient combo blocker. Provides a pop at the first level, but is agile enough to get to the second level and deliver an effective block there as well. Good lateral agility and initial quickness to pull. Athletic enough in this area to consider moving to guard at the next level.

Tennant appears to be more effective when utilizing this skill. From what my eyes tell me, centers typically work in tandem with guards to open running lanes - whether they be outside or inside. Perhaps Steve Nichols(HT) could weigh in on that. Either way, this is obviously one of Tennant's better strengths.

Initial Quickness: Good initial quickness to gain an advantage on the defender. Good burst off the snap for the cut-block on quick throws.

Cut blocking is still utilized in the Broncos offense, but not to the degree it was under Shanahan. However, Tennant could be dangerous in the second level for outside running plays.

Downfield: High-effort player who looks to block downfield and isn't afraid to block to or through the whistle. Very good foot quickness and balance to get to the second level and adjust to the moving target.

Yet another example of a player who fits into the McD-style of player. A tough blue collar guy who has a strong desire to get in on the action. It's that kind of desire that you just can't teach.

Intangibles: Tall, almost lanky athlete for the center position. Room for additional muscle mass. Legitimate NFL athleticism. Reliable shotgun and traditional snapper. Durable player entering his senior campaign with 41 consecutive starts. Has the athleticism and body style to consider moving to guard. A bit too lanky for some teams at center.

McDaniels has a preference for players who have frames that have room for additional mass. All that means is that Tennant hasn't fully grown into his frame. This also means he hasn't reached his full potential, which makes him a great third round prospect for whichever team picks him up. Hopefully it will be the Broncos!

#114: Inside Linebacker Brandon Spikes, Florida
#114 Brandon Spikes
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6'3" 249 3-4 5.05 -- 29 -- -- 9'3" -- 6.97

Will he fall this far? Maybe, maybe not. Currently, he is ranked 100th best player in the draft by CBS Sports and 4th best Inside Linebacker. More than likely, McDaniels would need to trade up fifteen to twenty spots to nab him, but he will after he trades Tony Scheffler for a 4th round pick.

In any case, Brandon Spikes was thought to be the second best inside linebacker in the country until he ran the 40 yard dash. Now all of a sudden his draft stock is crap and he'll be lucky to go in the top half of the third round. Forget that he was a beast on the field in a big time program at Florida.

To me, there is a difference between straight-line running nearly nude speed and full on football gear with the opposing offense trying to score speed, aka Game Speed. By all accounts, Brandon Spikes doesn't look markedly slower than everyone else on the field. Then again, perhaps that nagging groin injury affected him all year long. We all know how a great player struggles with a nagging groin injury(Champ Bailey...)

So sitting in the fourth round, I don't see how Josh McDaniels and Briand Xanders don't trade up to nab Brandon Spikes. If he turns out to be garbage, well, most fourth round picks do end up being garbage.

The Broncos need depth and help at the ILB position and Spikes would be an excellent low-risk, high-reward kind of draft pick. Now if McD stands pat and Spikes is gone by #114, then he should pick up Jamar Chaney.

Read & React: Quick to diagnose and has good speed to the ball. Has the speed to beat the back to the edge, good athletic ability and little to no wasted motion.

Spikes was the quarterback of that defense for the better part of three seasons. He has the smarts and quickness to be an effective ILB.

Run defense: Rare size and explosive punch to quickly disengage from blocks. Likes to initiate action and is physical shedding blocks. Can be undisciplined. Attacks the line of scrimmage so aggressively versus the run that he leaves cutback lanes for quick-footed runners to exploit. Can get locked up with blockers if his initial pop is absorbed. Needs to work on his use of hands to disengage.

He uses his instincts often and sometimes ends up out of position. Spikes fits the physical mold that McDaniels is looking for, but he will need to work on his discipline at the next level. Opposing offenses will exploit him if he doesn't become more disciplined. I think that is something that comes with experience though.

Pass defense: Quick footwork to get depth in coverage. Very good reading the quarterback's eyes while in coverage. Breaks downhill quickly to close on the ball and arrives with attitude.

Spikes won't be a liability in coverage, especially zone. His speed might be a concern, but I am beginning to suspect his groin never fully healed before his Pro Day. It should certainly be healed by training camp.

Tackling: Explosive wrap-up tackler who can separate the football from the ball carrier. Good athletic ability and balance to break down in space to make the tackle against smaller, quicker athletes. Doesn't consistently pursue with the reckless abandon normally associated with the position.

Missed tackles were a problem with the Broncos defense last year. With Spikes on the field, we fans won't be concerned about a running back shedding six Broncos on his way to a 17 yard gain.

Pass Rush/Blitz: Effective stand-up blitzer. Varies his speed off the edge and uses his explosive upper-body strength to push blockers into the pocket. Good strength and lateral agility to slide off blocks and pressure the passer.

His most important attribute as it pertains to becoming a Denver Bronco. The linebackers will be the primary pass rusher in 2010, so having a threat not named Elvis Dumervil will be a very good thing for the Broncos defense.

Intangibles: Suspended for one game in 2009 for attempting to gouge the eyes of a Georgia running back Washaun Ealey. Spikes was not penalized on the play, but was suspended for the first half of the Vanderbilt game by coach Urban Meyer after his film review of the play. Spikes extended the suspension, himself, to a full game in an effort to not be a distraction to the team. Voted a team captain in 2008-09 and was a member of the 2008 UF Football leadership Committee. Returned for his senior campaign despite earning a first-day grade from the NFL Advisory Committee. Good bloodlines. Cousin, Takeo Spikes, plays inside linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers.

Eye gouging. Yikes, Mr. Spikes! He chastised himself for that action and took full responsibility. He has no other infractions of note. Spikes has dreams of playing with his brother on the 49ers, but I'd rather see that dream not come to fruition. Brandon Spikes would make an excellent addition to the Broncos rotation and if he returns to his dominant self then the Broncos will have gotten a starting ILB with a cheap fourth round pick.

#183: Offensive Guard Brandon Carter, Texas Tech
#183 Brandon Carter
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6'6" 329 6th 5.34 22 24.5 2.95 1.78 8'6" 4.94 7.82

By taking Iupati in the first round, the Broncos got a versatile future All-Pro guard who can also fill in at the tackle position. The Broncos still need depth at the interior of the line, especially if injuries stike again in 2010. Brandon Carter is raw and may not have a very high ceiling, but he has the size and athleticism to play at the RG position.

He would be the best prospect available in the early sixth round. My only problem with him might be my suspicions of potential performance enhancement use. I have no evidence other than the smooth, innocent faced freshman and the maniac roid rage look he has today.

Brandon Carter, in spit of my suspicions, has shown he has NFL ability and has the potential to contribute in a power run scheme. He was a team leader and played with heart and determination - this fulfilling the McD-mold I was looking for.

Pass blocking: Strong pass protector who sets quickly, delivers a strong punch, and plays with a wide base. Excellent anchor, rarely gets pushed into the pocket. Will reach to chip both the nose and defensive end if no one lines up against him. Tech employs very wide splits, should be even more effective in pass pro in tight spaces because his recovery speed and lateral footwork is limited. Adept at picking up twists. Quick throws in the offense mask his inability to handle secondary rushes after initial contact.

This attribute is the main reason why I am big on taking him over other late round guard prospects. He can fill in nicely to protect the quarterback and hold his own on a consistent basis.

Run blocking: Latches onto his man on run blocks and does not let go. Able to turn his man out of the hole and use a defender's momentum to take him out of the play. Knows his angles to create holes inside. Rarely loses ground when run blocking, but is a bit underwhelming as a drive blocker -- partially because of his lack of experience in a three-point stance. Does not move his feet well enough to effectively zone block. Lunges too often to reach his man from his deep stance, bending at the waist and losing his balance. Slow to cut block, but gets good contact and is tough to get around.

With enough good coaching, he could become an impressive power run blocker. If it wasn't for his lack of overall mobility, he'd grade out much higher in the draft.

Pulling/trapping: Lumbers a bit when trapping but usually hits a target using his long arms. Can adjust to defenders coming from inside. Usually lined up well off the line, however, giving him an extra step (which he needs) when on the move. Lacks the foot quickness to be effective blocking outside of the tackles.

Carter is much more effective when asked to play in garbage, where mobility isn't something he has to rely on. Give him a target and the guy will destroy whatever is in that direction. However, if you ask him to move laterally and catch opposing players at an angle and you will be asking for trouble.

Initial Quickness: Fair quickness off the snap in pass set. In the rare situations where he lines up with a hand on the ground, Carter's get off is only adequate. Better than expected getting to the linebackers when called upon.

Whatever quickness he had in college will not translate well in the NFL. He is best suited as an interior lineman for both pass protection and drive blocking. He has the potential to become a solid starter if that is the role he is asked to fill.

Downfield: Surprisingly flexible for his size. Takes good angles and is able to adjust quickly enough to incoming defenders to get a hand on them, which is often enough because of his length and strength, but lacks the footwork to mirror and sustain. Usually hits only one target in space, doesn't often hustle downfield to get the extra block.

I like that he knows how to take good angles. It shows he knows his speed and quickness to judge what angle he needs to take to cut off defenders. However, if Carter has to stop and change direction he'll likely whiff on whatever target he was aiming for.

Intangibles: Team captain who is very competitive on and off the field. Plays through the whistle, comes to the aid of his teammates and cleans up piles, if needed. Suspended and stripped of his team captaincy for one game in 2009 for violating team rules.

Overall a solid player and a low risk pick at #183.

#220: Wide Receiver Danario Alexander, Missouri
#220 Danario Alexander
HT WT Proj
Rd
40
Time
Bench
Reps
Vert
Jump
20
Yard
10
Yard
Broad
Jump
Shuttle Cone
6'5" 221 7th 4.62 -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Once touted as a sure first round draft pick, Danario Alexander has been plagued with injuries over the last year. Including four knee surgeries.

His draft stock has fallen off a cliff since the Combine. He is now ranked 30th best wide receiver, and 236th best player in this years' draft by CBS Sports.

Whether he falls to #220, I don't know, but if he does the value versus risk would be incredible. I think the Broncos might have to trade back into the 6th in order to get him, but it would be worth it.

Alexander is the deep threat that the Broncos offense sorely needs in 2010.

Release: Used in the slot quite often, not often faced with the jam. Lacks a quick get-off from the line, but has the physical tools to muscle his way past corners down the sideline or inside for slants. Separates using size and acceleration once free.

He'll need to be coached up in this area, but his straight-line speed will force opposing defenses to respect the Noodle Armed deep ball.

Hands: Very good hands, only the occasional drop when trying to make a play after the catch. Gets to passes others wouldn't because of his height and exceptional leaping ability. Athleticism and strong hands allow him to win jump balls. Good red-zone target for that reason; also uses his body to shield defenders on slant routes. Very good body control, extends for high throws over the middle and gets his feet down to stay in-bounds on sideline passes. Traps balls against his chest when facing the quarterback.

Putting him on the outside, opposite Brandon Marshall, would make for an incredible tandem. Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal would come in the slot or in spread formations. The Broncos would instantly have multiple mismatches on the field against any team in the NFL.

Route running: Usually lines up in the slot so he can work the middle of the field. Needs to work on a head fake to sell seam route before heading to the corner. Rounds off routes too often, failing to sink his hips. Takes advantage of open zones inside where footwork isn't as crucial.

Perhaps working the middle of the field so often in college is what led to so many injuries. I would prefer seeing him on the outside as a deep threat, working the middle of the field as much as any outside receiver. He'll need to be taken out of the slot position for sure.

After the catch: At his best when catching the ball on the run, using his long strides to beat defenders down the field. Used on receiver screens to get the ball in his hands in motion. Slow to accelerate when stopped on a route, but is tough to catch once in his stride. Able to change directions after the catch or make a quick sidestep to avoid defenders, but lacks quick-twitch elusiveness. Defenders bounce off him when failing to wrap up, and he runs with good balance after that contact to drive forward for additional yards. Good stiff arm in the open field.

I like the idea of having him and Brandon Marshall being threats out of the screen pass. Boy do I ever hope we keep BMarsh and boy to hope we draft Danario!

Blocking: As physical as he wants to be blocking for the run, with a chance to be really good. Handles small defenders well using aggression and length to hold them off, usually just a one-arm shove takes them out of the play. Will need to bend his knees and move his feet more quickly to mirror and sustain against NFL corners who will out-quick him in space.

This is another skill that makes Alexander a perfect fit for the Broncos. Many of our outside runs depend on excellent blocking by the wide receivers. Brandon Marshall excels in run blocking, but it would be nice to have the option to go to either side without wondering which wideout will be doing the blocking.

Intangibles: Constantly works with his quarterback and in the film room to be a better receiver. Showed great work ethic to come back after injuries, but his medical record is still an issue. Coaches have nothing but kind words about him.

The injury history is a big concern, which is why he is project to fall so far; however, McDaniels and Xanders have both proven to be less concerned about injury histories than others. I believe the risk-reward factor favors a team that picks Alexander up in the sixth round or later.

Click Here to visit SBNation's Mocking The Draft website to view Danario Alexander's draft profile.

--

There you have it.

These four posts have been an enjoyable and education experience for me.  Whichever way McX decides to go in 11 days, I will be a Broncomaniac through and through.  Thank you all for the kind words and many informative comments on this subject.  Hopefully we all will continue to learn more about this new McX team as time goes on. Even more than that, I hope this new "juggernaut" will create the next dynasty in the NFL.

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