The Denver Broncos were one of the most active teams on day one of the draft. On day two, they played their board and stayed put with all of their picks, and came away with another solid haul of versatile, intelligent, consistent players.
Quick Draft Notes
- The Broncos have drafted five offensive players with all five of their picks so far
- Dating back to the 2009 NFL Draft, the Broncos have drafted nine straight offensive players (OL Seth Olsen, WR Kenny McKinley, QB Tom Brandstater, C Blake Schlueter)
- All five of the Broncos' picks so far have come from different conferences (ACC, SEC, Mountain West, Big 12, Big 10)
- The Broncos have yet to draft a player listed under 6-foot-3
- The Broncos have two picks left on day three (137, 183)
- Both of Denver's new wide receivers (Thomas, Decker) have had recent foot injuries
- Four of Denver's five picks were seniors in college last season (D. Thomas only early entry)
Round Two, 45th overall: Zane Beadles, Offensive Lineman, Utah
Initial Reaction: I was really quite surprised with this pick. Not that the Broncos picked Beadles, which I thought they would eventually do, just the fact that they picked him in the second round. Beadles was considered a fourth round choice by the prospect list I referenced, but he was also considered to be one on the rise. Again, I was surprised that we joined the other teams early in the second round in the "reach" party, but the Broncos obviously had this kid highly rated on their board.
Pick Analysis: Beadles started 50 of the 51 games he played in for the Utes. Twice he was voted Most Valuable Offensive Lineman by his teammates, and he was named a first team All-American in 2009. In the last two seasons and over 819 passing plays, Beadles allowed a mere 3.5 sacks from the left tackle position.
The three year starter is considered a very hard worker that coaches praise for his effort in practice, and he is also known as a vocal leader among his peers. No matter which way you paint it, it looks like you can pencil Beadles in as a starter for the Broncos, most likely at left guard for the recently departed Ben Hamilton.
While many might have considered this pick a reach by our standards, the Broncos likely feel that Beadles can be a starter in this league for a long time, otherwise they wouldn't have used this high of a selection on him. Not a flashy pick (coughGolden Tatecough), but a very solid pick and one that will help the Broncos immediately.
Round Three, 80th overall: J.D. Walton, Center, Baylor
Initial Reaction: Great value here. While Walton's stock seemed to be slipping, when the Broncos passed on Maurkice Pouncey in the first round, I figured they would go after one of the other center prospects they scouted, whether it be Matt Tennant of Boston College, or J.D. Walton of Baylor. Josh McDaniels indicated he wanted to beef up the Broncos' front line, and Beadles and Walton combine for a whopping 50 pounds, possibly more, of girth up front for the Broncos.
Pick Analysis: I love this line from the CBS Sports Scouting report:
A tenacious drive blocker who brings back memories of former Notre Dame and Kansas City Chiefs standout, Tim Grunhard, Walton should use some of his signing bonus to buy an IHOP, as he has truly mastered the art of serving up the "pancake" block while at Baylor.
While Walton again is not the flashy pick (even for a center), and was my personal third favorite prospect at the position, he was in fact the first center drafted to actually play center at the next level (Maurkice Pouncey was drafted to initially play guard for Pittsburgh, reportedly).
Walton was a first team All American, not unlike Zane Beadles, and is an extremely hard worker. Here is a nice piece of information from CBS Sports:
Typical mauler inside, giving everything he has on every play. Leader of the offensive line. Just the type of tough, intelligent, durable pivot man NFL teams like.
This gets me excited. The Broncos have to think they got the top pure center in the draft, and they may have. Walton plays with a mean streak, he plays with a chip on his shoulder, and he is an intelligent leader. He has everything you look for in a center, and the Broncos got him in a good spot. As deep as this draft is, the Broncos likely feel they got two potentially immediate starters along the offensive line in Beadles and Walton.
Round Three, 87th overall: Eric Decker, Wide Receiver, Minnesota
Initial Reaction: To put it bluntly, I was ecstatic. When we didn't take a receiver (coughGolden tatecough) in the second round, I figured we would wind up with one in the third with one of our two picks. I saw Damian Williams falling, Carlton Mitchell falling, and Eric Decker falling.
My first reaction was, if Williams is still on the board, he could easily be the pick. Williams ended up going a couple of picks earlier to the Tennessee Titans before we picked at 80 overall, so I figured we would end up with Decker at that point, or at least I hoped we would. For what it's worth, I was watching a Minnesota-Cal game a few months back, and I posted on my Facebook, "Eric Decker is going to make some NFL team very happy someday". Thankfully, he has that opportunity with the Denver Broncos.
Pick Analysis: Tim Tebow, Brady Quinn, Kyle Orton, and Tom Brandstater have to be at least happy that the Broncos are making a huge attempt to add playmakers to this offense to replace Brandon Marshall. Decker is a big wide receiver with hands that I have described as "bear claws lined with super glue".
The guy simply catches anything and everything thrown his way.
In his record breaking career at Minnesota, Decker caught 227 passes for 3,119 yards and 24 touchdowns. He missed four games his senior season with an injury to his foot, not unlike the injury that sidelined our own Ryan Harris.
Decker has great quickness and reliable hands. He makes plays down the field, is a crisp route runner, and is extremely intelligent. While I've praised Damian Williams as being the most polished route runner in this draft class, Decker is probably the closest behind him in that category. He has displayed excellent toughness, a willingness to go across the middle, and great body control on the sideline.
From what I've seen of Decker, he has superb field awareness. He was not properly utilized at Minnesota due to horrid offensive line and quarterback play, but he made the absolute most of what he was given.
A two sport athlete for the Gophers, Decker was drafted twice into Major League Baseball before being drafted by the Broncos, so he is no stranger to getting a draft day call.
At one point, I had Decker penciled in as a first round prospect, so this is a great value pick.
Final Day Two Thoughts
The Broncos have really impressed me on draft weekend 2010. I have been pleasently surprised with the amount of emphasis this team is placing on the offensive side of the ball, which was clearly the team's weakness heading into the season. The Broncos didn't have to mortgage any of their high 2011 draft picks to get a group of players that could have easily all been taken in the second round or higher.
A very impressive day for the Broncos to add to what I thought was the absolute ideal day one.