Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 4/19/11

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Broncos seek four starters in NFL Draft - The Denver Post
The Broncos' last legitimate four-starter-or-more draft was 2006, when they selected Jay Cutler, Tony Scheffler, Brandon Marshall, Elvis Dumervil and Chris Kuper from among, yes, seven picks. And the 2006 draft may have been the team's best in recent years because information was gathered by the team's scouts and then used by the team's executives. Too often there has been a disconnect between the information the Broncos have had and the information they have actually used — see: Maurice Clarett with a third-round pick or Jarvis Moss with the 17th pick of the 2007 draft, or almost any of the draft-day trades over the last two years.

"Experts" predict Broncos to select Alabama DT Dareus - The Denver Post
Even if the Broncos didn't have a gaping hole in the middle of their defensive line after the release of Justin Bannan and Jamal Williams, NFL insiders would gush about Dareus' potential to become the second coming of Warren Sapp. "First of all, he's one of the biggest defensive tackle prospects," Broncos general manager Brian Xanders said recently. "His size (6-foot-3, 319 pounds) gives him an advantage over a lot of the other prospects in terms of having a massive body in there inside."

Q&A: Alabama's Ingram will be gone before the Broncos draft in the second round - The Denver Post
Even when Josh McDaniels made Moreno the 12th pick of the 2009 draft, most people in the NFL didn't think the former Georgia star would be able to pound out the tough yards and many wondered if he would have an extra gear in the open field. He had good hands and finished runs effectively coming into that draft, but he hasn't shown consistent big-play ability in his NFL career. And he has had difficulty staying healthy. So it would be a stunner if the Broncos didn't select at least one running back in the April 28-30 draft.

Broncos consider OLB Miller with second overall pick - The Denver Post
With the countdown on for this year's NFL draft, Texas A&M's Von Miller finds himself in the right place at the right time. "It's a great time to be a linebacker, to do what I do," he said. It is a spectacular, about-to-win-the-football-lottery time for Miller, widely regarded as the best pass rusher on the draft board. That makes him one of the players who will get a long look when the Broncos' turn pops up at No. 2 overall.

Texas A&M's Vonn Miller looks like can't-miss NFL prospect - The Denver Post
It's a triumvirate of team building in the NFL. Find a franchise quarterback and a franchise left tackle to protect him, and find an edge pass rusher who can dominate. Miller is considered the top edge pass rusher available in this year's draft. He could go as high as No. 2 overall to the Broncos or No. 3 to the Bills.

After Miller, at least five intriguing linebackers remain in draft - The Denver Post
In addition to Miller, the Broncos have brought several linebacker prospects into their Dove Valley complex in recent weeks as part of their pre-draft visit list. And in terms of getting to the passer, Nevada's Dontay Moch is the closest thing to Miller on that list. However, while Miller showed at the Senior Bowl he could move from predominantly playing defensive end to outside linebacker, Moch would need a little more work if the Broncos wanted to move him away from the line of scrimmage.

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Defensive Line
Eighth in the nine-part series: defensive linemen. Below you will find six of the top prospects at the position. Later in the week, we will profile another prospect to keep an eye on -- Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea, who set an NFL Scouting Combine record in the bench press.

NFL NEWS

The spending problem | National Football Post
The NFL is counting on the NFLPA solidarity of March and April to ebb in June and July largely because of concern about finances. Judge Nelson may lift the lockout for the Players this week but will likely not open the NFL for business while the NFL appeals, which may take a while. The Owners know their leverage increases the longer this dispute lasts. The Players do have one hope: on May 12 they will be before their favorite jurist Judge David Doty to determine damages in the television lockout case. Doty could reward a large sum to the Players, giving them the lockout war chest that the owners thought they were getting.

Steve Sabol battles brain tumor; 2011 NFL Draft prospects evaluated - Peter King - SI.com
At one point during our talk, Mike Mayock walked into the office and the two men hugged the way Sabol had hugged me. Years ago, Sabol urged him to move from commercial real estate, a job that made Mayock unhappy, to analyzing football, which made him deliriously happy. Now Mayock reminded him, and Sabol sat down at the chair behind his desk, and the garbled words came in droves. Too emotional. What I found most amazing about Sabol is his desire to talk about everything. I mean, anything I wanted to bring up, he welcomed. He's undergoing chemotherapy and radiation at a Philadelphia hospital to try to shrink the very dangerous tumor in his brain.

2010 Patriots: What the Film Revealed - NYTimes.com
Obviously, this offense made a fantastic schematic adjustment after the Randy Moss trade. The emphasis shifted from a north/south attack to east/west. You can make this kind of adjustment when your quarterback is Tom Brady (see Myth Buster). Enabling the process was that Brady operated behind a familiar, cohesive offensive line. That offensive line actually struggled more than usual in pass protection. Left tackle Matt Light was vulnerable on an island, and the Pro Bowl left guard Logan Mankins had a few gaffe plays here and there. Both veterans, however, were outstanding in the run game – particularly Mankins, who was the most dominant pulling guard in the league.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Madden hopes to change concussion culture
"We have a name now. When a player is concussed now and is out (in the video game), the (term) is 'no go.'" Madden is smart. He knows that concussions are tricky, grey business. They are messy. They are often a confusing, misreported part of sports. As he pointed out on the call, he played and coached in an era where players suffering head injuries had "cobwebs" and were instructed to "rub some dirt" into any other ailment they suffered during the course of a game. Getting one's bell rung was not an injury; it was a minor inconvenience.

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Data Points: Sweeping success "
Taking care of business within one’s division is often a great precursor to success. In fact, teams that have been able to sweep their division have done much more than just make the playoffs. Since the league went to its current eight-division, four-team format in 2002, the numbers are staggering. Six of the 11 clubs that went undefeated in their division made it all the way to the Super Bowl. This list includes the 2009 Colts, 2008 Cardinals, 2008 Steelers (who won it all), 2007 Patriots, 2005 Seahawks, and 2004 Eagles.

NFL.com news: Fans surprisingly vault Hillis over Rodgers in 'Madden' vote
The Cleveland Browns have fielded just two winning teams in the last 10 years, but their passionate fan base deserves credit for toppling a Super Bowl champion. Pick Six: Weirdest NFL upsets Is Peyton Hillis taking down Aaron Rodgers in the "Madden" cover contest on par with the Jets winning Super Bowl III? Probably not, but here are six of the weirdest upsets in NFL history. More ... Behind the strength of online fan voting, Browns running back Peyton Hillis knocked off Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Super Bowl XLV MVP, on Monday to vault into the finals of the "Madden NFL 12" cover-model contest against Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.

AEG wants to build NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
A proposal to bring NFL football to downtown Los Angeles is not supposed to cost a public penny, but a little-noticed provision in a current draft of the plan would transfer valuable development rights from the city to the developer pitching the project. The concession sought by sports and entertainment company AEG would allow the company to expand its robust presence in a rapidly developing area considered a cornerstone of the city's downtown revival.

L.A. wants guarantee NFL team will stay put
An NFL team would have to commit to remaining in a proposed downtown Los Angeles stadium for 20 to 30 years for the city to approve the project, a key city negotiator said Monday. The city will seek "hard-and-fast agreements" that a pro football franchise would not leave a proposed $1 billion stadium to be built on public land next to the Los Angeles Convention Center until city debt related to the project is repaid, Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller told a City Council panel.

Will the NFL match the New York Giants against the New York Jets on the 10th anniversary of 9/11? - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
The NFL will announce its 2011 regular-season schedule Tuesday night amid speculation that the league will mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by having the New York Jets play host to the Giants on Sept. 11 on NBC’s "Sunday Night Football," according to the New York Post.

Bobby Petrino’s shallow cross concept – concepts, routes, and protection | Smart Football
The shallow cross is, quite possibly, the best pass play in football: Almost any quarterback can complete it; almost any receiver can run it (though there is more nuance than maybe one might initially realize to a good shallow route); it is a way to get "speed in space" without requiring a big arm; it works against most all coverages; and throwing a few of these tends to open up big plays downfield as defenders creep up.

Cold, Hard Football Facts.com: Naughty Nurse: Is KC too sexy for AFC West?
Was Kansas City’s breakout 2010 season truly a breakout? Or are they one-hit wonders, the football equivalent of early-90s novelty act Right Said Fred, proving to be too sexy for the AFC West but without much staying power? It’s a tough call. They’ve got the closest thing to Barry Sanders in Jamaal Charles, a QB in Matt Cassel that was third in our brand-new Real Quarterback Rating (which takes into account sacks, fumbles and rushing yards, as well as passing stats), a stud pass rusher in Tamba Hali and a pair of great corners with the same first name (that’d be Brandon). And yet, a closer look at their 2010 shows a team that took what the NFL schedule gave them (a league-low three games vs. Quality Opponents) and not much more.

Winning vs. Stats: Matt Ryan " Pro-football-reference.com blog " Blog Archive
My favorite predictive stat for future success is net yards per attempt, i.e., yards per attempt with sack yards subtracted from the numerator and sacks added to the denominator. My favorite retrodictive or explanatory statistic is Adjusted Net yards per Attempt, which formed the foundation for how I graded quarterbacks in my Greatest QB of All-Time series. Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt starts with the basic NY/A formula, but adjusts the numerator with touchdown bonuses and interception penalties. But because those metrics are very random events -- important in determining winners, but not useful in determining future winners -- I prefer NY/A to ANY/A when judging a quarterback's true ability.

NFL DRAFT

Advanced NFL Stats: Draft Needs According to 2010 EPA - Offense
The table below lists each team's EPA rankings by position. Within each position, the top third of the league is shaded in green, and the bottom third is shaded in red. EPA stats for the QB, RB, TE, and WR positions are straightforward aggregations of each player's EPA by team. But offensive line EPA is measured indirectly, using the concept of -EPA. Each column is sortable.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Draft Dose: Who needs an inside linebacker?
There will be some changes to the linebacking corps, as the Broncos switch to a 4-3 defensive scheme under head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. The team's most productive linebacker, D.J. Williams, is slated to move to the weak side, where he will have more room to roam and make plays. That leaves Mario Haggan, who played outside in 2010, and LBs Wesley Woodyard and Joe Mays, who were primarily reserves last season. Depending on how the draft shakes out, the Broncos could add an inside 'backer anytime after the second round. Free agency is an option, as well.

Teams doing their homework on FB Zac Pauga | National Football Post
Colorado State fullback Zac Pauga might not get drafted because there aren’t many at his position that do, but NFL teams are certainly taking notice of him. Pauga made an official pre-draft visit to the Arizona Cardinals and had a workout for the Denver Broncos. The Houston Texans have also expressed interest in him.

Pioli explains the intersection between scouting and The Breakfast Club | ProFootballTalk
Pioli said that, in researching draft picks, he looks for one or more "Carl the Janitors," men and women who can provide something more meaningful than the spit-and-polished version of the player that the teams get when they visit with a prospect.

Mark Dominik likes pods, not mock drafts | ProFootballTalk
Dominik has a different way of preparing for all the draft day scenarios than most. While many teams run through mock drafts as a way to prepare for the big day, Dominik prefers "pods." "It’s a little different than we’ve ever done around here before. It’s worked for the last couple of years for me. It’s really breaking out players into individual traits and kind of rating them within a pod and then looking at a big picture," Dominik told Justin Pawlowski on WDAE over the weeked, via our friends at JoeBucsfans.com.

Misinformation overload is coming | ProFootballTalk
Here’s the game. A team that loves a player will put out negative information in the hopes that the player will fall to it. A team that hates a player will put out positive information in the hopes that someone else will burn a pick on the player, pushing farther down the board someone that the team wants. And if agents are doing their jobs properly, they’ll quickly throw water on any negative information that is out there.

NFL LOCKOUT

NFLLabor.com What is average NFL player’s career length? Longer than you might think, Commissioner Goodell says "
The average career length for a player who makes a club’s opening-day roster (active/inactive roster or injured reserve) in his rookie season is 6.0 years. The average career length for a player with at least three pension-credited seasons* is 7.1 years (*a player receives a pension credit for each season in which he spends at least three games on an active/inactive roster and/or injured reserve).

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