This all started on Tuesday when I received an email about the NFL draft and which players do I see Denver targeting. Had you asked me in week 5 or 6 I could’ve told you Denver had holes all around, but man how quickly holes fill up in the National Football League. Today I’m not so sure Denver has that many spots where playmakers don’t already have a home.
Last year was a different story in general, Denver was a mess. Rodney A. and many others including myself were very vocal about what direction we felt Denver would go. My pick was Patrick Peterson. Rodney tried so hard to get me to jump on the VonDoom bandwagon but I just couldn’t. Well today I’m the driver of that wagon. I’m not saying I still don’t like Peterson, both Miller and Peterson are special players but Von Miller fits Denver’s style perfectly. Thanks Rodney for trying to make me see the light.
So on to the 2012 draft. With the current playoff run we are seeing (Let’s just take a moment to let that sink in………) the holes in the lineup aren’t as big as we all once thought. When I looked over the roster the biggest issues I can see are: CB, DT, RB, MLB, and QB not in any order but in general. Now I’m a Tebow guy! I feel that Tebow can and will be great in this league, but I’m just not sure EFX see it that way so QB must make this list. So stop all the hate mail now.
When I break it down and take a closer look at each roster position this is my thoughts.
Follow me after the jump-
QB-I’m going to start with the QB position because that will bring the most conversation. I’m sold on Tebow (don’t ever think I’m not) and I think Fox is following suit quickly but the fact remains that Elway must also buy in. Elway concerns me, but luckily for us Elway is a business man. The NFL is a business where today only one player can sell out a stadium by himself and that guy is named Tim Tebow who just happens to be ours. You don’t jeopardize your cash cow, not to mention that Tebow has taken us out of the QB draft this year. That’s right back in week 6 everyone was asking just how many wins Tebow needs to make sure he gets a 2012 pass. I have your answer now, that number was 5! With just 5 wins that pushed us out of the top QB’s in Round 1 and also Round 2. Making Denver pick in the teens or early 20’s was enough, but since it looks like the mid to late 20’s is now the landing spot the John’s aren’t going to get a prime QB there or trade up in Round 2 high enough to get one either. So Congrats Mr. Tebow you have given yourself another year simply by default. I also see many veterans looking for new summer homes coming in 2012. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Jason Campbell, Matt Cassel, OR Colt McCoy will be moving to Denver this spring. I’m not saying that Denver doesn’t take a late look at a QB but don’t expect one.
MLB- Once again Rodney is trying to sell me on Nate Irving. Sorry Rodney this one I’m not buying. MLB are either day one starters or career backups. Linebackers are the deepest position in the sport. I hate to say it but most are a dime a dozen. Great ones are day one starters…Don’t believe me see Von Miller! This is one spot I see Denver targeting early in the draft so here are some guys to watch to get better familiar with:
Manti Te'o*, ILB, Notre Dame
Height: 6-2. Weight: 255.
Dont'a Hightower*, ILB, Alabama
Height: 6-4. Weight: 260.
**Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska (This would move DJ back inside-I really like this pick. A speedy, edge setter to match up with Miller, DJ, and Doom. What a corp.!)
Height: 6-1. Weight: 216.
Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford
Height: 6-4. Weight: 239.
Ronnell Lewis*, LB, Oklahoma
Height: 6-2. Weight: 244.
Watch all of these guys because Denver’s draft board will have them on it.
RB- All I can say is Trent Richardson. Willis is helping make Denver the team it is today but if by some miracle Trent Richardson falls to us. The card will be turned in before the clock even begins. Other than that I think Mario Fannin and Jeremiah Johnson will make the rotation next year so if Denver can’t get Trent Richardson(like a Mark Ingram slide) then they will pass on RB’s early on and might pick one up in the mid to late rounds. I would question that move still if a BPA player is there.
DT-This is the surprise of the season! I watched Draft Day/s 2011 as the lineman came and gone with anger, but now I’m thankful for the players we drafted. Miller, Moore, and Carter will be All-Pro’s for us before their careers are over. I guess the old saying “You can’t have the cake and ice cream too” is right. Denver might pass again this year on early DTs because of the play of Big (smaller) Vick, Thomas, Bunkley, and with Warren sitting on IR. DT play is one of the brightest spots on the team this year. We all thought we were doomed because the DT position was so overlooked, but these guys have stepped it up and will be rewarded. Here is a small list of late round guys to watch, but don’t look for Denver to draft one before round 4.
Jerel Worthy*, DT, Michigan State(He hasn’t played very well this season so expect a slide-He also taps out a lot so conditioning will be an issue!)
Height: 6-3. Weight: 305.
Dontari Poe*, DT, Memphis
Height: 6-5. Weight: 350.
Derek Wolfe, DE/DT, Cincinnati
Height: 6-5. Weight: 302.
Tydreke Powell, DT, North Carolina
Height: 6-3. Weight: 310.
**Marcus Forston*, DT, Miami (Season ending knee injury might keep him in school another year, but he has shown signs of dominance and good be a steal in round 4 or 5)
Height: 6-3. Weight: 310.
**T.J. Barnes*, NT, Georgia Tech (This kid is a monster. 6-7 333 and a 5.00 40 and 31 reps of 225. He will make a splash in the NFL someday)
Height: 6-7. Weight: 333.
CB-IMO this is Denver’s weakest link. Goodman has gotten very lucky this year. In his worst games he seems to make one big play to erase the other 59 minutes of work. Well I’m still seeing it. Goody has lost a step or 2..3..4. He can still play, but more of a nickel role instead of CB2. Champ is still a Champ but once again he can’t play forever. How Dawkins does what he does is simply amazing, but someday Champ will have to fade away. I would like to see Denver draft a top notch corner so Champ can work with him and make him the best he can be. When Denver drafted Darrent Williams I felt that Denver had made the best move a team could make. D Will rests in peace today so we need that type of player to help shut down the WR’s making Denver an elite team with an unmatched pass rush and corners to shut you down. The back secondary is covered with Moore and Carter so the CB role is going to be looked at early. Here are some of the players that will/should make up Denver’s Big Board:
We all know Morris Claiborne and Dre Kirkpatrick but these two will be gone when Denver’s name is called so we have to look deeper.
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska (Even though Dennard is undersized, he is well built and is very good in press man coverage plus plays zone well enough.)
Height: 5-10. Weight: 205.
**Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama (A character issue in the making. He has some legal issues but you can’t hide the fact he shut down Alshon Jeffery and A.J Green plus in a three year career he has yet to allow more than 88 yards to any WR.)
Height: 5-10. Weight: 188.
Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
Height: 6-0. Weight: 185.
Stephon Gilmore*, CB/PR, South Carolina
Height: 6-1. Weight: 190.
*Desmond Trufant*, CB, Washington (Looks like he will return for his senior season)
Height: 6-0. Weight: 184.
***Xavier Rhodes*, CB, Florida State (Xavier Rhodes has a dynamite skill set. He is big, fast, agile, has great hands, and ran a 4.32 40)
Height: 6-2. Weight: 215.
Donnie Fletcher, CB, Boston College
Height: 6-1. Weight: 200.
Tashaun Gipson, CB, Wyoming (Great late round sleeper)
Height: 6-0. Weight: 195.
To sum this all up I’m going to give my first Mock Draft. I see Denver going CB, LB, OT (BPA pick), DT, RB, DE, and then QB to finish out. I’m not adding pick numbers, trades, free agents, or anything like that but these are the guys if there in that round I feel Denver will target:
Round 1: Janoris Jenkins
Round 2: Lavonte David
Round 3: Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin Height: 6-6. Weight: 320.
Round 4: Marcus Forston
Round 5: Marc Tyler, RB, USC Height: 5-11. Weight: 230.
I think we traded 6 for Joe Mayes, but just in case
Round 6: Adewale Ojomo*, DE, Miami Height: 6-4. Weight: 270.
Round 7 might be the final piece of the Brady Quinn trade, but once again just in case
Round 7: Dominique Davis, QB, East Carolina Height: 6-3. Weight: 215.
Well that all folks. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and seeing a home playoff game in Denver!!! This is just a piece of the puzzle be sure to watch some of these guys in the Bowl games because they might be a Bronco come May!