It’s been over two weeks since my inaugural mock Broncos draft of the 2010 offseason and, though not much has changed, I finally feel as though it’s worth taking another stab at it. As per usual, I did not indulge in potential trades. A bit of a different twist to this one is that I did not allow myself to choose any of the players that I featured last time. I did this so as to introduce you to prospects and possibilities I may not have considered otherwise. Truth be told, I’m not sure that I was all that tempted to do so, but it did make some of my decisions that much easier. Before I get to the picks, however, I would like to take a moment to "talk shop" with you all.
While mock drafts are ostensibly an effort to forecast the real thing – which, by the way, is less than three weeks away! – we are all painfully aware of just how quickly these projections tend to go awry on draft day. Perhaps it’s a sign that we all get our brackets busted right when we’re putting the finishing touches on our mock drafts! As a result, we have all come to take this sort of exercise in clairvoyance with a grain of salt. That said, there is so much more that we can take away from mock drafts; despite the fact that most of our guesswork will ultimately be wrong to some degree, we become better fans of the game, of this league and of our team with every effort.
Whether or not specific prospects end up donning our beloved Orange and Blue, they will most likely be plying their craft somewhere in the NFL for years to come. In order to determine our needs and which prospects fit best, we must first evaluate the roster, understand our schemes and ascertain the intentions of the administration. We also have to gauge our competitors and assess the league as a whole. Personally, I learn more about football from researching for the draft than I do at any other time throughout the year. Before I go on, I thought I’d address some of the thinking behind this mock Broncos draft so as to demonstrate that approach.
It is true that our Broncos have invested heavily along the defensive line this offseason, but the newcomers are quite veteran already and their impact is yet to be determined. Some have wisely pointed out that an influx of experienced talent in the defensive backfield last offseason was followed by additional considerable investment in those same positions via the draft, meaning that our priorities should not and have not changed; I tend to agree with that line of thought. Though the two circumstances are not identical – our secondary was practically devoid of talent going into last offseason, whereas our current depth along the defensive front is much more promising – it is the sign of a healthy franchise to draft for long-term roster stability and continually invest in the trenches, which are most crucial to team success. Besides, competition and depth at key positions throughout the roster are valuable things! The offensive line, which has not had the benefit of free agent reinforcements, indisputably remains our area of greatest concern, so I will refrain from elaborating on that further.
There are trends that should be apparent in the picks that I projected today, but I want to make mention of them beforehand so that you may keep them in mind as you see the theory play out in practice. Head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders have made it very clear that their Denver Broncos need to be tough, smart, physical, versatile, team-first guys. Some of those traits are subjective, abstract, and even cliché, but they’ve also expanded on them in additional comments and illustrated their meaning via several roster moves. Our management seems to prefer bigger linemen that get the most out of their power through controlled aggression and solid fundamentals, have both the tools and skills to execute as many roles in their unit as possible, and are willing to do anything for the team. These are the guys that they want and that we need; below the fold you will find a mock draft that focuses our primary picks on some of the better such prospects available in this year’s class.
11. Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee – 6’2", 327 lbs
Notes: good size… stout frame… powerful… very aware… plays with good leverage… compliments effective bull rush with solid swim move… commands double team… late bloomer
45. Tyson Alualu, DE, California – 6’3", 295 lbs
Notes: plays with good leverage… anchors well… moves well laterally… uses hands well… very experienced in the 3-4… surprisingly productive stats-wise… tremendous effort… mature… team leader
80. Mike Johnson, G, Alabama – 6’5", 312 lbs
Notes: great size and strength… explosive off the snap… good use of hands… plays with good leverage… excellent technique… needs to improve in space… power blocker… extremely experienced… played guard or tackle on both side of the line… student of the game… team leader
114. Eric Olsen, C, Notre Dame – 6’4", 306 lbs
Notes: good size… uses hands well… mirrors well in pass blocking… drives well in run blocking… equally as experienced at both guard spots… aggressive, perhaps too much so… excellent shotgun snap… nasty demeanor… student of the game… unit leader
183. Joshua Moore, CB, Kansas State – 5’11", 188 lbs
Notes: good speed… solid ball skills… played on an island in college… can play man or zone, tight or off the line… reads and reacts quickly… aggressive, perhaps too aggressive… enjoys tackling… unit leader… no major character concerns
220. Chris Carter, WR, UC Davis – 6’0", 190 lbs
Notes: good initial burst off the snap… great acceleration… good deep speed… good ball skills… reliable hands… unafraid of contact… sells double moves… excels in crossing routes… elusive in the open field… used on reverses… limited kickoff return experience… willing blocker, though not very effective… experienced outside and in the slot… reasonable production despite mediocre supporting cast… concerns over level of competition… worrisome injury history