No DTs. Still. Hmm.
Denver added a ton of talent in the past 3 days. Overall, I'm pretty pleased and I am beginning to understand what John Fox and John Elway want to do with this team.
But..yeah, I'm surprised that Denver didn't draft a single Defensive Tackle in the first 5 rounds. Actually, I'm shocked.
I was in the Dareus camp. But I wasn't sold all the way. There's lots of risk in Dareus. And I wasn't convinced that he was the 'safe pick' in the first 3 and I most definitely wasn't conviced that Dareus was the #1 player available in the draft. And although he played for Saban, I am not 100% sure that I see that as an overwhelming positive. So, he played in an NFL scheme with NFL caliber players. Rolando McClain did too and his rookie year was subpar, and he played right behind Dareus.
By Thursday morning, I felt Miller would be the pick and once I realized that Doom would be the weakside DE, the Miller pick grew on me. In the grand scheme of things, I want Denver to pick the player that they think will be (and already is) the most elite, and I think that Miller is likely more elite and safer than Dareus. The only way to know that for sure is to see them play next year, so let's not go postal because of something that MIGHT happen.
So, first, lets talk about this thought/complaint that I keep seeing on MHR:
"In such a deep DT draft, it's terrible that Denver didn't come away with one of them"
I was hoping we would. But I disagree with 1 component of that sentence. "Deep draft" at DT is what I disagree with. Sure, there were a lot of DTs available, but Denver should only draft one if:
1) He can start on day 1
2) They think an available player at a need position is NOT better than the best available DT
Von Miller was drafted over Dareus because of point #2. And point #2 may also be the reason Marvin Austin and Steve Paea, Fua, and Ellis were all passed on in rounds 2 and 3. But I'm not sure Austin projects as a starter. Not an obvious one anyway. He has questions upon questions. Screw Mayock, Kiper, Al WIlliams, Mike Lombardi, Charlie Casserly, and Mcshay. If they were really well thought of, they'd be in a front office making decisions that matter to NFL teams. Mayock had Moreno and Ayers as his #3 and #4 prospects in 2009. Over Stafford, Sanchez, Freeman, and Raji. Well, Mayock and McDaniels were very wrong.
If Denver had better grades for Austin, Paea, Ellis, and the other post-first-round DTs than Moore, Franklin, and Irving then they would have drafted them. What, would you rather Denver passed up talent (BPA) for need? Not me. If there's one thing Denver lacks as a team, it's talent. Especially on defense.
The only sure thing DTs in the draft who were consensus day 1 starters without huge questions were all taken in round 1. I thought Phil Taylor was where the cliff was. If we didn't get him or a guy before him, we weren't going to draft a DT this year with the idea that we'd be starting a drafted DT this year. I don't understand the vitrol fron not drafting a DT who isn't a starter from day 1 in the second round when there were LBs, RBs, OL, safeties, and TEs who were starters from day 1. And remember, the franchise wants 4 starters. Well, now it looks like they got themselves 4 starters. Now they are forced to look at DTs in free agency or via trade. I'm fine with that.
We chose Von Miller, potentially a Derrick Thomas-like player, over a DT starter (Dareus, Fairley, Liuget, and Taylor).
That said, I was hoping we'd have a new starting DT on the roster after this weekend. Denver's current DTs leave so much to be desired that I'd be willing to bet you that 28 of the 31 other NFL teams wouldn't willingly take more than 1 of these guys on their roster:
Vickerson, Leonard, Unrein (Thomas and McBean are RFA's).
Unimpressive? Yeou bet.
Okay, so moving on, where do we find a DT or two? Well, Free Agency or trades. Denver has some tradeable pieces and Denver also has plenty of money to get into the Free Agency game. I don't see why Denver can't go into 2011 with a very good to great DT starter and a rotation at the other DT spot.
Denver needed 2 DTs, 2 Safeties, 2 LBs, 1 OL, 1 RB, and 1 TE. I'd say we're doing just fine so far. Let's stop talking ourselves into the idea that this draft was deep in STARTING DTs. There were only 4, maaaaybe 5, and possibly 6 if you count Jenkins and Austin (who I am not persoanlly convinced is a day 1 starter). And Denver wanted Jenkins, but not Austin. So, Denver seemily had starter grades on 5 DTs. They didn't get any of them. Why? Because they valued Von Miller and more draft picks over the 5 they had graded as starters.
This draft was not deep with DT starters for more than 5 teams, per the Broncos. So, maybe that's historically deep, or maybe it's not. I guess we'll see.
Denver must have confidence that they can reasonably round out their DT personnel in the post-draft marketplace. John Fox has earned the benefit of the doubt for me, unlike his predecessor. Let the proof be in the pudding.
For the record, I wanted a DT. I'm a little disappointed. But I'm not upset. I trust Fox and Elway. Fox deserves your confidence and trust. For now.