This team has numerous needs and not even the most afflicted of homers would suggest Denver is only 2 or 3 players away from playoff (and championship) contention. The second overall pick is inarguably a high value asset for an NFL team, yet Denver has numerous holes to fill and a dearth of picks in the middle rounds with which to plug those holes. For this reason, and despite really liking several players at number 2, I as a fan hope that Broncos management trades out of the second pick and fills that gulf between the number 67 position and their next pick at 186. (Just say that out loud: one hundred eighty six!!!!) With that here is my fantasy, as in best case scenario, draft for Denver in 2011:
At the top Carolina does something no one has predicted and both QBs (Newton/Gabbert) remain at pick 2 as well as Dareus AND Peterson. Denver then trades their 2nd overall to Arizona for AZ's 5th, 69th and 103rd overall picks. AZ takes the QB of their choice at number 2; Buffalo takes V. Miller at 3 and Cincy takes Dareus or Peterson at 4, leaving the second QB. Denver at 5 is now faced with the best remaining player of either Dareus or Peterson and I believe that player is...
Denver elects to trade back again knowing that this draft is loaded with defensive talent, Denver's primay need at all three levels, and knowing that with 1 of the top 2 QB prospects remaining a team will be willing to pay to take him. I say that team is Minnesota which believed a few years ago they were a Favre away from a ring. Minnesota offers Denver their 12th, 43rd and 139th picks to move to 5 and take the second of the presumed top two QBs.
Denver now holds the following picks: 12, 36, 43, 46, 67, 69, 103, 139 and their original 6th and 7th rounders which I believe are 186, 189 and 247th overall. With those picks Denver's Fantasy Draft proceeds thusly:
12: Should be DL - I like Cam Heyward a bunch but think this is just too high for him so let's go 12: DE Cameron Jordan from Cal. Yes, he did play in a 3-4 front at Cal, but readers, he is also the son of an NFL TE and he knows this game, is a very bright young man you not only is capable of learning, BUT HE IS WILLING TO LEARN.
36: TE Kyle Rudolph from Notre Dame. Best combo of pass catching skills and "full-growed" man sufficient for NFL blocking duties. Not a primary need, but when you get the best player available at an every down position in the 2nd round you take it.
43: ILB Martez Wilson from Illinois. Again, argument can be made he is the best available ILB in the class and Denver makes a value pick there at 43 overall.
46: CB Jimmy Smith from Colorado. Character concerns be damned. Tough love of Elway and Fox straighten his path and the space between his ears is brought up to par with his physical gifts from the neck down.
67: I say OLB Dontay Moch vice DE Dontay Moch, from Nevada. He is a project OLB who provides raw speed and a major upside. Since he does not perfectly fit a 2011 need he has time to develop for one year while Coach Fox shakes out his roster and schemes. Moch is a year two beast ala Dumervil.
69: I like RB Daniel Thomas from Kansas State here. I think he is mostly underrated and if nothing else in year one he would provide Tebow some relief in goal line and other short yardage situations.
103: CB/S Michael Gilchrist from Clemson. Make him a safety and he starts year one.
139: OT Marcus Gilbert from Florida. There is uncertainty at RT and regardless, depth on the lines will be key in the new schemes under Fox. Gilbert is some where in the neighborhood of 6'6" and 335 pounds! Can't be a bad thing to have on Tebow's blind side.
186: WR Cecil Shorts from Mount Union. The next Pierre Garcon. I know Garcon has the French swiggle, but I don't have that font option so get over it.
189: FB Owen Marecic from Stanford. Elway takes a flier on a fellow Stanford alum at a position of need. The guy is verstatile, and what I mean by that is that he will contribute day one on special teams. Not that they can pretend he is a Linebacker and a Fullback like Larsen. Give him a position and if you want him on the field more then make it as a special teamer; otherwise in my opinion you short change him, the team and the fans by having him never fuly develop at a specific position.
247: RB Bilal Powell from Louisville. Let Dumervil be city tour guide to his fellow southern Cardinal as Powell develops his already fine pass catching skills and further hones his sharp-edged Roger Craig like inside runs. A nice fall back in case Daniel Thomas is too upright and slow and ends up oft-injured.
Final Note: I made a few references to Tebow above, NOT/NOT to incite arguments, but just because I believe he is the QB for 2012, if not 2011. Tebow has everything you want a QB to have that you cannot coach. Yes he is a project, but this team won how many gamers last year? I won't repeat the number here, but the point is Denver is 2-3 years away from winning the AFC West and then making a solid playoff showing; which to me means win at least won game.
Hope you enjoyed your long read and please do keep in mind that I am a major Denver Bronco Homer and this is a Fantasy.