Never too early to start mocking for 2012!
Let's get the 2011 off-season out of the way!
First, using Draftek, lets tweak some needs and just simulate the 2011 Draft:
1. Nick Fairley DT
2. Kyle Rudolph TE
2. Mason Foster OLB
3. Jarvis Jenkins DT
3. Curtis Brown CB (Orton to Arizona)
6. Henry Hynoski FB
7. Ugo Chinasa DE
Wow, EFX killed the draft! How about Free Agency?
1st Round, #10 Overall (6-10)
Vontaze Burfict 6'3'' 245 lbs MLB Arizona State
We took Fairley in 2011, so we might as well make our defense truly nasty with the addition of Burfict. Unlike the 2011 draft, there will be some great MLB talent in the 2012 draft if the future Juniors declare. By waiting till 2012 to select a MLB, the Broncos are able to grab a guy who can start as a rookie. Burfict has top 5 physical talent, but he sometimes plays too hot, and he plays at a position that rarely is drafted at the top of the draft. He needs to temper his temper on the field, but you can't ding the kid for his huge motor. Burfict has the speed to get sideline to sideline, but is a playmaker who prefers to play downhill. He's also a very skilled at blitzing from the interior. Pairing Doom, with Fairley and Burfict would make our defense fairly perfect. The addition of Burfict inside allows DJ Williams to move back to the Weakside in 2012.
2nd Round #41 Overall
Kenny Tate 6'4'' 220 lbs S Maryland
This is a familiar face. Tate looked to be a high 2nd round or bottom 1st round pick in the 2011 draft if he had declared. In 2012, I have him slipping down a bit further because the 2012 draft will be a lot deeper at safety. If Tate has a stellar Senior year he will probably get drafted higher. Tate has the versatility to play free or strong safety. He looks best as an aggressive center fielder who can follow the QB and get to the football. He's excellent in run support because he's a guy with a strong motor and is not afraid to take on blockers at the line of scrimmage. Adding Tate, or one of the other talented Safetys in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft would give the Broncos that needed enforcer over the middle.
3rd Round, #72 Overall
Shaun Prater 5'11 185 CB Iowa
At this point, Cornerback is probably our weakest position. I may be more of a "football is won in the trenches" guy but I think John Fox is too. If we're having our corners play zone coverage like Fox did in Carolina, I think we can get away from having a marquee shutdown corner. Instead, we're looking for speedy guys with fluid hips who can watch the QB and find the football. Syd'Quan Thompson is a little short of fitting that description to a "T." In 2011, the simulation had us picking up Curtis Brown, who is also a good fit playing zone. Shaun Prater is another cornerback who could fit that mold. He's not an overly physical player but has the athletic ability to get in position and make a play on the ball.
4th Round, #106 Overall
Al Netter 6'6 310 OT Northwestern
Even if we resign the Ryans, we don't have much depth at Tackle. We probably can get away with crossing our fingers and using FA for backups in 2011. Picking up a backup tackle at this point in the draft make sense, and will provide some injury insurance for Harris. Netter is a reasonably athletic tackle, who will have started four seasons at left tackle for the Wildcats.
Jullian Miller 6'4 260 DE West Virginia
Depth at RDE. Miller's pass rushing skills give this pick some upside.
Lucas Nix 6'6 308 OG Pittsburgh
More depth along the offensive line. Nix is a raw OG prospect with quick feet.
Elijah-Blu Smith 5'11 195 FS Colorado State
2012 Denver Broncos
QB: Tim Tebow
RB: Michael Bush/Knowshon Moreno
FB: Henry Hynoski
RT: Ryan Harris
RG: Chris Kuper
C: JD Walton
LG: Zane Beadles
LT: Ryan Clady
WR1: Brandon Lloyd/Demaryius Thomas
WR2: Eddie Royal/Eric Decker
TE: Kyle Rudolph
LDE: Robert Ayers
LDT: Nick Fairley
RDT: Justin Bannan/Jarvis Jenkins
RDE: Elvis Dumervil
WLB: DJ Williams
MLB: Vontaze Burfict
SLB: Mason Foster
CB: Perrish Cox/Syd'Quan Thompson/Curtis Brown/Shaun Prater
S: Darcel McBath/Kenny Tate
With so much parity in the NFL, it really only takes two solid drafts to reload a team. I think we already have the nucleus for a great offense. On defense, we have Doom and DJ, but adding some top playmakers in 2011 and 2012 could bring back the D in Denver. I think the above roster would be a team that could compete in the playoffs. What do you think? Or what else do you think about the 2011 draft but haven't had space to write about?