Hello, all. I know the subject on how to rebuild the Broncos is getting a lot of attention here these days, especially as we bring in candidates for head coach. I happen to believe that the right guy is among the six that we have already interviewed or will soon bring in, and it all starts with him. Who is that man? Find out ... after the jump.
Head Coach: Rick Dennison: I know he's not the flashiest pick (that distinction goes to Gregg Williams, as does the award for most "g's" in a first name). But Dennison knows the Broncos; he's been a coach on offense, defense and special teams; and according to the Texans beat writer, he's the smartest man he's met in 34 years of covering pro football. Of course, Dennison is not without his flaws. He's never been a head coach and he's never called plays on offense, which makes his coordinators all the more important. So who does he choose?
Offensive Coordinator: Jim Fassel: Yes, it's another back to the future pick. But here is a man who knows how to coach offense, he knows Denver and he helped bring John to another level. Fassel could even call the plays and let Dennison run the show on Sunday.
Defensive Coordinator: Eric Mangini: This is a name I haven't seen around here much, probably because he crashed and burned with the Browns and, to an extent, with the Jets. But that doesn't change the fact that he can coach defense, and specifically the 3-4, which John has said he'd like to keep.
With the coaching staff in place, we begin free agency with an eye on defense. But first, we re-sign Ryan Harris. Dennison got the best out of him once, and I think he can do it again. Step number two, and this is the key: find a young NT for our system. Right now, the best option to possibly hit the market would be Paul Soliai of the Dolphins. Let's go ahead and assume we lock him up for four or five years. Next, we address DE by signing Marcus Spears of the Cowboys and re-signing Vickerson if he's willing to come at a reasonable price. This addresses our defensive line before the draft even starts, freeing us up to move around and target different players. Also in FA, I would love if we picked up either Ahmad Bradshaw or DeAngelo Williams, as well as a safety. We should have the money to do it, if we make the following trades.
First, franchise and trade Champ for a second-round pick, let's say to New Orleans (they need it). It hurts to lose him, but in this scenario, I think it's the right move. Second, move Orton and maybe a sixth for an early third, let's say to the Titans. Finally, send Royal to the Redskins for their third-rounder. This would have us entering the draft with one pick in the first round, three in the second and three in the third. Not too shabby.
First Round (no. 2): Patrick Peterson: They guy is just a physical freak and would add another dimension to our secondary and special teams. He's the pick if we trade Champ and have already addressed our defensive line.
TRADE: We trade no. 34 and one of our third-rounders to move back into the top 20 or so.
First Round (approximately no. 22): Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA: We take another elite athlete and put him opposite Doom. R. Ayers holds his position warm until he's ready, which should be, oh, about the moment he's selected. These two would get after the QB like nobody's business.
Second Round (pick from MIA): Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor: This massive man gives us incredible depth at the DT position and allows us to rotate Soliai and Taylor to keep them both fresh. It may be a little early, but NTs usually climb around draft time.
Second Round (pick from NO): Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson: At 6'4", 300 lbs., Jenkins provides depth and youth along our defensive line, and could challenge Spears or Bannan for PT. Noted for his run-stuffing.
Third Round (from Wash): Robert Sands, Safety, WVU: Another physical freak, at nearly 6'5, 220, Sands would come in and compete with our current crop to start right away. Likely starter in year 2.
Third Round (from Tenn.): Mark Herzlich, LB, Boston College: Herzlich already seems to be a favorite around here, and I suspect he could come in and start at ILB right away.
Later rounds, I would look at tight end and depth along the offensive line. I know TE is a need, and maybe they can address it by picking up Scaife, Boss or Miller in free agency. Otherwise, I wouldn't be opposed to drafting Luke Stocker from Tennessee in the third round.
What does it all mean
On offense, not much would change, with the exception of Williams or Bradshaw as our starting RB. But just look at the sea change on defense.
DE: Spears, Bannan, Jenkins, Vickerson.
NT: Soliai, Phil Taylor, Jamal Williams
OLB: Dumerville, A. Ayers, R. Ayers, Haggan
ILB: DJ Williams, Woodyard, Herzlich, Haggan
CB: Peterson, Goodman, Cox, Thompson
Safety: Dawkins, Hill, Sands, McBath, Bruton
That won't fix all of our ills, but it would go a long way. After 2011, I would suspect they would look to further upgrade at inside linebacker, cornerback (depending on Cox's legal situation) and safety, if they find that McBath and Sands either aren't the answer or aren't ready yet.
So there you have it. My answer to rebuilding the Broncos in the 3-4 would make them younger and far more athletic, and I don't think it's through unreasonable free agent signings or trades. For example, last year we signed Bannan, Jarvis Green (wow) and Jamal Williams--three "starting-quality" defensive pieces. This would have us doing much the same. On offense, with let's say Bradshaw and Knowshon, we could field a much more aggressive rushing attack--surely improved now that Walton and Beadles have a year under their belts--and a passing attack with Lloyd, Gaffney, Decker and DT as our top options. Add to that, of course, the improvement from Tim Tebow that I expect to see and this is a team that could make some noise in 2011.
What do you think?