OK. So let's get a little thread competition going. I'm not really enamored of Peterson or any draft rookie. Always a lot of risk and high-profile draftees are always overhyped in my opinion. But we have a #2 so who do we select with it?
First - where are the Broncos imo? I've ranked these positions into tiers. These tiers glom together -- how much NFL teams pay for talent at the position, where they draft them, frequency/need of teams having to use slots to draft talent, scarcity of talent, and dropoff in talent between the elites and the starters and the backups/undrafted. All my opinion of course but it is based on real-world info.
We have two questionable QB's in this category - Tebow and Quinn. Both were drafted as elite and both have that upside. Different styles and skills - left-handed dual-threat and right-handed pro-style. Most NFL teams don't have one QB with elite upside. We have -- potentially -- two. But -- currently -- none. What we need is a GREAT QB coach to get these QB's up to where they can be. Who also has the clout to get them both significant playing time next year. The two styles -- and some clever gamesmanship -- can really potentially wreak havoc with opposing defenses. Quinn is a free agent but for freaks sake Broncos don't piss away the trade that got him here without giving the kid a chance to show us something. Re-sign him.
We are set with Ryan Clady. Depth??? Umm Broncos? Hello??? What are we gonna do if Clady gets injured? SERIOUS depth problem.
4-3 Rt DE
We don't run this scheme. Nor do we have anyone who is solid at this position. Dumerville is too small to play here. This is here to show what an expensive hole would need to be filled IF we go to 4-3.
Again a very expensive (less in contract dollars than in using up high draft slots all the time to replace them) position if we move to 4-3. And if our D-line isn't really cutting it at the lower value 3-4 DE, it's a bit insane to believe they can kick it up two tiers and be even better at a tougher position.
Most teams don't have even one of these. There are only half-dozen in the league. Whose biggest impact is before the game even starts. We have Champ. Sign him Broncos. This level will tend to age-deteriorate into "regular" CB's -- see Charles Woodson.
3-4 OLB (mainly right OLB)
On the blindside (right), we have Dumerville. Behind him nothing. We saw the results this year. We need a backup. Doom is undersized and thus injury-prone is a permanent reality. On the visible side (left), I think we are OK with Ayers, Hunter, and Veikune. Still some upside here as all three are VERY new to the position. Veikune may develop into a right OLB -- but can we take that chance? Free agent solution isn't great. The best outside linebacker free agent - LaMarr Woodley - is currently a left OLB - thus creating a real logjam. And Steelers prob won't let him get to free agency anyway. Second-tier OLB draft talent -- Beal, Houston, Smith, Moch -- may be the answer. Me? I'm still confused re what to do here.
We need to age-replace Jamal Williams with haste. Ronald Fields is not the answer. He's too small and double-teams wear him down. There's a lot of "bubble" nose tackles available as temporary backup. Including some in this year's draft who won't get drafted. Maybe some have upside. Maybe they remain temporary backups. Powe/Taylor/Ellis are imo the draftable man-mountains this year - and it is possible that none of them make it out of the second round. Redskins are desperate; Steelers are probably age-replacing this year. Jets/KC and a couple of others are not gonna let draftable NT prospects fall on draft day.
We don't have one of these AJ/VJax/Roddy sorts. The level where the defense has to plan how to double-team them before the game starts. But we are set at the "regular" WR positions so don't need one either until our QB's prove they need one.
Goodman needs age-replacing at moderate haste. What looks like CB depth on our roster seems to me to be more "nickel" CB level. Maybe they have upside. Maybe not. But with Champ and Goodman both getting up there in years, there is a real risk that we wake up one day and find we have NO CB's.
Our roster looks OK to me. Certainly compared to our other problems. But we seriously need a conditioning team upgrade so that these guys remain healthy.
Again, good talent, good depth, some upside. I'd like to see play calling that gets Royal into the game more. But -- next
Like left tackle -- where is the depth??????? Yeesh. Fire the moron who got us into this position. With a lefty like Tebow, this job also becomes a bit of a tweener w left tackle. Free agent may be the only solution. Sign Matt Light to a 2-4 year contract at "tweener" pay. Other teams may only need him at left tackle for shorter time. A veteran presence could also be great for Clady and whoever our longer-term right tackle turns out to be. This is a draft need for a long-term solution -- and a unique one with a lefty QB.
Still young, lotsa confusion as to who is where, and too much depth on the roster unless there are moves out to right tackle. But with another year to gel -- next
Lotsa blocking TE's. Too much depth in my opinion. I don't see a receiving check-down TE. Maybe it's here but Broncos need to make some decisions to clear a roster slot. Free agency is NOT a solution. Wasting a draft slot is not a solution. TE's are a dime-a-dozen in the draft outside the top-tier. Freeney (Stanford) caught 3 TD's in their bowl game and may not even drafted. Invite a few undrafted receiving TE's to camp and let them compete and learn blocking.
Our roster seems to be mostly rotational. Some may have some upside but if they do Broncos sure aren't giving me much confidence that it's there. What this group needs imo is a rookie with better upside than anyone we have -- challenging for and getting starting time and create a bit of competition among the veterans. Draft one this year. And one in either 2012 or 2013. NO MORE free agents. The "draftboard" DE caliber of a Bailey/Heyward/Crick is fine. But there are also some great sleeper 3-4 DE's -- who are already playing at the weight we need and may even be playing 5-tech - below Dareus - Christian Ballard, Lawrence Guy, Kheeston Randall, Cedric Thornton, Muhammad Wilkerson, Jarvis Jenkins, Derek Wolk, Tydreke Powell, Mike Blanc, Adrian Taylor, etc. Broncos scouts better get busy. Some of those guys probably have serious upside and would be perfect for the situation we are in. A lot of depth at this position in the draft. 3-4 DE's don't get the stats glory of the 4-3 DT's - so a lot of them remain below the draftboard radar. Unfortunately, I don't trust Broncos scouting talent at this position since we haven't ever drafted anyone at this position afaik.
Beside DJ what I see is rotational talent and not much upside at weakside inside linebacker. We need starter talent. There is no elite talent this year but we don't need that either. Nor do we need free agents. Draft a Jones/Sturdivant/Carder and I think we are OK here.
See CB for the same problem. Aging starters and backups who may be more special teams than starting safeties. Woodyard may be a good rotational strong safety to rest legs of the starters and provide tackling oomph -- but the NFL really doesn't like big strong safeties anymore.
Not gonna bother with the next tier of nickelbacks or third-down backs or kickers or such.
Free agent needs -- Pull in a veteran O-tackle like Light. Maybe LaMarr Woodley or Tamba Hali at OLB. Other than that we should just sign Champ, Woodyard, Quinn, Prater (if the contract recognizes the altitude adjustment).
Age-replacement draft needs -- CB, CB, FS, SS, NT -- I say pick Peterson at #2 because he slots into three of those positions. Two of which are valuable. He allows us to defer our age-replacement secondary drafting into future years. Draft a Powe in the second round if he is a long-term solution. Or draft an Ellis/Taylor in the third if they make it there and they are a long-term solution.
Position-upgrade draft needs -- 3-4DE, 3-4DE, Weakside ILB -- Draft one DE and one Weakside ILB this year. See names above. If the Broncos get their scouting together, there really are a lot of sleeper 3-4DE's to invite to camp or use a late round pick on if we get one. Maybe the "draftboard projections" are worth something. Probably not. But regardless, 3-4 DE IS a position that can't continue on with this free agent nonsense.
Depth needs -- Rt OLB, Offensive Tackle -- I'm still stuck here. Our needs are not for elites. Rt OLB talent probably does drop off precipitously (which is why good ones are paid so much). At OLB, Beal/Houston/Smith are good options. And maybe use the Orton pick for an O Tackle who is gonna be pretty uniquely suited for us with a lefty QB.
So. While I do think the Fairley's and the Bowers and such are great picks for a 4-3 defense; I think they are just too risky -- and playing at a lower value position in a 3-4 - for us to use a #2 pick on them.
Carolina picking #1 is a 4-3 who also needs WR. They have a real dilemma between Fairley, Bowers, and Green. And who knows what else they may do.
At any rate. That's my long-winded story and I'm sticking to it. Unless Peterson turns out to be a flop in the combines.