Everyone knew that this was the year to make the moves. This was the year to get as many players as you possibly could because this draft was one of the strongest in a long time. It's safe to say that Denver made some moves. In fact, they made 5 trades on the first night. On draftivus, I had them trading 4 times total. The point is that Denver made the moves that the FO felt were necessary to make a winning team.Last season, Denver's biggest need was the defensive front 7. We addressed that position with 1 player, Robert Ayers. The rest of the picks were spread out. Knowshon was a running back, Darcel and Bruton were safeties and Richard Quinn was a tight end. The point was that we didn't really fill our biggest need last year. This year, we filled our biggest needs and then some.
The point is that we addressed all of our biggest needs in this years draft. We didn't do a lot with the defense, but you can't do it all in 1 draft. We look to have had a very successful draft. This draft could be a draft we all look back on and say "WOW. I can't believe we got all these players in one draft." This draft is going to be a blessing.
On the flip side, this draft could be a curse...a very big curse.
I am not talking about our players. I am not going to get into the "what if Tebow or Demaryius or J.D. don't work out" scenarios. The curse is that the other teams in the AFC West got better in this draft....much better.
Kansas City drafted Eric Berry, Dexter McCluster, Javier Arenas, Jon Asamoah, Tony Moeaki (Sayre has to hate that), Kendrick Lewis, and Cameron Sheffield. Kansas City definitely got better in this draft.
Berry is one of the best safety prospects to come out in a long time. I have read reports that predict Berry to be a pro bowl player for his entire career. That is something to worry about. McCluster is a playmaker. He is fast and elusive. He can be a real threat in the return game if we are not careful. Arenas is a short corner, but he is fast and has good return capabilities. Asamoah is a big, strong guard who helps bolster there line.
San Diego always drafts well. I was really disappointed in how well they did this year. They drafted Ryan Matthews, Donald Butler, Darrell Stuckey, Cam Thomas, Jonathan Crompton, and Dedrick Epps.
Ryan Matthews is a good, strong runner. He wasn't regarded as highly as Knowshon was last year, but he was pretty close. Matthews gives them the tough runner they have been looking for. Donald Butler was the inside linebacker that many of us wanted. He is a strong tackler and will be a solid contributor. Stuckey is a hard hitting safety. If he is not a starter, then he will be one heck of a special teams player. Cam Thomas was a 2nd round nose tackle prospect who was picked up in the 5th round. He has good potential and fills a big need for them. Crompton and Epps are typical late round hopefuls. The truth is that the Chargers always draft well and this year was no exception. They drafted extremely well and this keeps them in title contention in the coming years.
Oakland drafted well...scary well. Typically they are terrible drafters, but this year, they duck taped Al Davis and picked smart. They drafted Rolando McClain, Lamarr Houston, Jared Veldheer, Bruce Campbell, Jacoby Ford, Walt McFadden, Travis Goethel, Jeremy Ware, and Stevie Brown.
Rolando is going to step into the MLB position and immediately make their defense better. Lamarr Houston is going to add to their weak d-line. Jared Veldheer and Bruce Campbell improve their offensive line significantly. Lastly, they obtained Jason Campbell in the draft. This is not a good sign. Oakland picked up a solid QB and 2 big, hard working tackles that will be protecting him. Believe it or not, it is possible that Oakland will challenge us for # 2 in the AFC West. I know a lot of you just scoffed at that notion, but it's not far from the truth. Last year they were 5-11 yet again. They got a much better QB, a better o-line, 2 very solid defensive players, and a speedy wide receiver who will be a terror in the return game. Oakland would be even better if they picked up a wide receiver who can catch the ball.
This post is not a diss of the Broncos. Far from it. I think we had one heck of a draft. This post is to state the fact that all of the AFC West teams got better this year. A lot better. You can't say that one single team in the AFC West drafted poorly. They all got players who will make an impact in their 1st year. The competition is going to be fierce this year and I wouldn't have it any other way. I would take much more satisfaction in finishing 8-8 against a competitive Oakland and Kansas City.
Maybe I am thinking too much. Maybe Oakland and Kansas City will continue to be at the bottom of the AFC West, but maybe they won't. This year was a very strong draft and all of the AFC West took advantage. Will Oakland and Kansas City make the division more competitive? I think so. One thing is for sure, we will find out in the coming months.