I like Fox as a new head coach. I do think it means we will be drafting defense - finally. I don't think it will mean that we change schemes in 2011. Fox is a players coach and I don't see him gutting through the existing roster just because he's got a scheme. We've been there done that. I think this is going to be a very conservative defense draft. Players who can fit both a 4-3 and a 3-4 pretty easily -- and a draft that tells Broncos fans that it's OK to draft defense with high draft picks. A hedge-your-bets type of draft. I'm not going to mock any draft trades. We'll work with what we have.
Round 1 - #2 -- Patrick Peterson - CB/FS -- 6'1" 220 lbs - LSU - Is purportedly a once-in-a-decade prospect at both CB and FS. Elite size, hands, instincts, speed, feet. Ball hawk and solid tackler. Scouting report. His versatility solves a whole bunch of problems in our secondary. Aging starters and youngsters who aren't ready to take over starting positions. Peterson has been a 5 star prospect ever since he was a HS Player of the Year and teams have been trying to counter him ever since. Won Bednarik Award (best defensive player) and Thorpe Award (best def back). Was a finalist for Lott Trophy (combines on-field play with off-field intangibles and community service) so no character concerns. And CB is a defense playmaker regardless of scheme. This is precisely the sort of low risk of bust -- high playmaking -- high impact pick that can make Broncos fans realize that high draft picks on defense are a good idea and that's what #2 slots are for. Less for 2011 and more for the long-term. With Champ and Peterson, we eliminate opponent's vertical game and force them to run or go short/inside.
Round 2 - #36 -- Jeremy Beal -- 6'3" 263 lbs - OU - Is a top-5 4-3 DE and a top-5 3-4 rush linebacker. Great work ethic and intangibles and great pass rush from the visible (left) side. Durable, Has already played LB and on his feet occasionally and is solid in pass coverage and run stopping. Scouting report . I don't think this will be a reach by draft day. Rush linebacker is too important a position for 3-4 teams and 4-3 teams will also be interested. With both Elvis Dumervil and Beal, we have a seriously good pass rush. If either gets injured, our pass rush returns to 2009 levels. If we move to a 4-3, he will be better than Doom at right DE. Alternative picks -- Greg Jones (ILB) and Justin Houston (OLB)
Round 2 - #46 -- Jerrell Powe -- 6'2" 320 lbs - Ole Miss - NT - #1 3-4 NT and #9 4-3 DT -- Has played out of position at DT in 2010 -- and 20 lbs lighter than his disruptive weight - and so has dropped down draft boards. Scouting Report - Not the brightest tool in the toolbox but I don't think the Broncos need a calculus tutor. We need a disruptive immovable object who clogs up the middle and gets double teamed and forces the running game out to the tackles/ends while keeping run blockers off linebackers. And he is it. There are also some NT free agents and if that is the way we go then.... Alternative - Muhammad Wilkerson - 6'5" 305 lbs - Temple. Perfect 3-4 DE and good 4-3 DT. We will only get him here because of "small school" stuff. But what that means to me is that he has been double-teamed and triple-teamed for years. Neither of these two will make it past the bottom half of the 2nd round.
Round 3 - #67 -- Quan Sturdivant -- 6'2" 240 lbs - North Carolina - ILB -- What a difference a year makes. The #1 ranked ILB in this draft for the last two years. Gets injured this year, misses 5 games with a hamstring, and embroiled in the whole NC scandal. So drops down the draft boards. Well this is the perfect place for the Broncos to pick up a bargain who can plug gaps and stop the run. Scouting Report . This is also the best draft pick to trade down a little bit. A lot of teams will be running out of good picks at the positions they need - and there are still quite a few solid ILB's and 3-4 DE's for us - and acceptable SS's - in the 4th and 5th rounds. Alternatives: Mason Foster (LB) , Nate Irving (LB), Lawrence Guy (3-4 DE), Phil Taylor (3-4 NT), Marvin Austin (DT/DE), etc
Round 6/7 - No point mocking this late. Good choices include: Derrick Locke (RB), John Clay (RB), Vai Taua (RB/FB), Preston Dial (TE/FB), Zach Pianalto (TE), Coby Fleener (TE), Cedric Thornton (DT/DE), Terry Griffin (DT/DE), Mike Blanc (DT/DE). Terrel McClain (DT/DE). Those are the positions - if not the specific players mentioned - that are likely to fall the most (or where there is solid depth) during the draft this year. Hence the best positions to pick up depth needs late.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Until such time as I change my mind.