In watching the 2011 Denver Broncos draft their latest class, the linguist and etymologist in me was astounded by the noble-sounding names of these young warriors of the astroturf that promise to rebirth the legendary Orange Crush Defense. With a weekend that witnessed the Royal Wedding in England, I thought it was apt that the Broncos kept drafting players with names like Von, Julius, and Virgil. It sounded like a group of ancient crusaders and Roman nobility. So I did some research on the meanings of their names that seemed to reveal a profound story emerging in the realm of orange and blue.
Von Miller had the high honor of being selected in the 1st Round, 2nd overall, with the name Von indicating ‘citizen nobility’ knighted ‘from”’ (hence Von) a certain region. Miller is of Old English origin, meaning ‘one who grinds grain.’ With Von Miller’s exceptional pass rushing skills as the top OLB in the draft, Bronco fans can only hope that he lives up to his name as a noble grinder of grain who will bend ‘Rivers,’ siege ‘Cassels,’ and ring the ‘Camp-Bells’ of pesky defeated raiders.
In the 2nd Round, they added athletic playmaker Rahim Moore. Rahim is Arabic, meaning ‘compassionate,’ which is itself a word that means “to suffer with others.” Moore indicates a Moorish lineage from Morocco or in English, a person originating form the marshes. Marsh-folk are always tough, so Bronco fans hope he will ‘suffer-with’ the defense in training hard so he can use his electrifying ballhawk skills to lead opposing offenses into the bogs of 4th down and back to the agonizing sidelines where they belong. With Rahim, the Broncos added the premiere safety in this years draft.
Also in the 2nd Round, they recruited the meanest and most nasty offensive lineman in 6’6” 316 pound titan Orlando Franklin. He is about the same size as Ryan Clady and looks to guard the right flank and plow through enemy lines. Orlando means ‘Renowned Land’ and Franklin is Old English for ‘Free Landholder.’ Hopefully he can hold his land for free (and not get caught for holding!) and help open gaping running lanes so that Moreno ‘his Moorish ally’ can reach the renowned end zone and crack a thousand yards this season.
With their 4th pick in the 3rd Round, the Broncos looked to bolster the center of the defense by selecting MLB Nate Irving. Bill Parcells rated him as the only 1st Round talent in the draft at his position, whose status dropped due to a near-death car accident where he fell asleep at the wheel and spent a year recovering from grievous injuries two seasons ago. Nate comes from the Hebrew Nathanial which means ‘God has given,’ as in another chance to live and be a bold defensive leader for the Broncos. Irving comes from the Gaelic Irvin which means ‘green or fresh water.’ Hopefully the divine is planning for the Broncos to be given nourishing ‘fresh water’ at the MLB position even if it’s green. The middle of the defense has suffered in constant drought since the tragic loss of Al Wilson to a severe neck injury. Maybe it will take one who has seen into the face of death to replace a noble warrior as he.
With their 5th pick in the 4th Round, they enlisted the services of Sir Quinton Carter, a hard-hitting safety that looks like a linebacker packed tightly into a defensive back’s body. With great range and amazing ball skills, he is sure to turnover the ‘carts’ of many offenses. Quinton is old English for ‘Queen’s Town,’ another royal indicator. Carter means, ‘one who transports goods,’ as in carting the intercepted ‘rock’ across the goal line to bring honor to new head coach John Fox, who once worked for the Queen’s Town (Charlotte, NC).
In the later draft gambles, the elder Bronco Elway and company sought to return to the glory days of the old Roman Empire where Julius Caesar was crowned Emperor and poet-philosopher Virgil became the patron spirit of Italy.
It started with former basketball star Julius Thomas, who got the call when the Broncos brass charged back into the 4th Round to nab their hero with a trade! Julius Thomas became a stellar Tight End in a mere season of football after spending four years honing his rebound skills. While still a gem in the rough, Julius looks to create some nightmarish match-ups with his sensational athleticism and receiving skills. He has the potential of becoming like former enemy basketball-turned-football stars like Tony Gonzales and Antonio Gates, something Denver has coveted since the departure of Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe. Julius means ‘son of Jove (Zeus)’ and everyone knows that the king of the gods doesn’t descend from Mount Olympus unless he means to seed a classical Greek hero. Thomas means “twin” in Aramaic, signifying the presence of a duality or two things going on. The Biblical ‘doubting Thomas’ had an unusual amount of both pessimism and zealous faith. Every other team doubted his skills, but the Broncos spotted a faithful hero. Hopefully he will develop into another valuable target alongside his namesake ‘twin’ Damarius Thomas.
Before they could claim Virgil though, the Broncos used the 24th pick of the 6th Round to select a well-rounded linebacker called Mike Muhamed. Mike is short for Michael, which is Hebrew for ‘one who resembles God.’ It’s also the name of the archangel who slays the dragon with a flaming sword. Muhamed is Arabic for ‘praiseworthy.’ In college he sacked quarterbacks with ruthless abandon and made interceptions to win big games. One look at his highlight reel was all I needed to see that the Broncos hope this undersized specimen can become a ‘god-like’ special teams ace and provide invaluable and ‘praiseworthy’ depth in the middle of the defense.
Then the 42” vertical jumping tight end named Virgil Green was taken with the 1st pick of the 7th Round, another basketball dunk-master. Virgil is Latin for ‘staff-bearer’ and the color green symbolizes life, nature, plants and abundance. Hopefully this Staff-bearer of the Green turf can help open up holes in enemy lines and catch passes over opposing defenses.
With their last compensatory pick, number 44 of the 7th Round, the Broncos selected a defensive end called Jeremy Beal. Jeremy comes from Jeremiah, meaning ‘the lord loosens’ or ‘God uplifts’ and Beal means ‘handsome.’ As an undersized defensive end, hopefully he can make the conversion to outside linebacker with his proven explosiveness and vast repertoire of pass rushing moves and look ‘handsome’ while he dislodges the ball from the quarterback’s grasp to help ‘uplift’ the Broncos to the playoffs once again!
Whether through their collective or individual contributions to the team, this draft has been billed as the rebirth of the legendary Orange Crush. Even now, they march to the Mile High City bearing their noble names: Von, Rahim, Orlando, Nathanial, Quinton, Julius, Michael, Virgil, and Jeremiah. In the coming crusade for the platinum trophy of the Lombards they’ll take courage and ban together with other Broncos on their trusty steeds like Royal, Ayers (heir), Bruton (fortified settlement), Dawkins and Tebow. Even Dawkins is derived from Daukyn or kin of Daw, which means David, as in the Hebrew King. The famous Dawkins family coat-of-arms has a red shield with a lion and two silver crossed-roses that reminds one of Dawkins crossing his forearms and roaring as he sprints through the tunnel onto the field of battle.
Tebow is the anglicized version of the Flemish Tibaut, meaning ‘brave people.’ The Tibauts migrated from Belgium to the New Amsterdam Colony during the 17th Century, where the name was changed to Tebow. Tim or Timothy is Greek for ‘God’s honor,’ as in Biblical Timothy, the young companion of Saint Paul who told him, “Let no man look down on your youth.” Unfortunately, he was martyred after denouncing followers of the Moon Goddess Diana, but this is a different age and a different time where the gladiators dwell in the land of the free and home of the brave and any religion is accepted. He hopes to beat out former field commander Kyle Orton (meaning shore-settlement of the narrow straights) to lead the team.
With this new influx of noble crusader mercenaries, Tim Tebow the Brave, honored by God, is destined to lead the charge into next season despite his criticized youth. At last, the Denver Broncos will bring glory to the Rocky Mountain region by making their epic claim to the promised-land and a mythic return to the postseason.
This is Kelly Lee Phipps' first FanPost to MileHighReport, where he has been an avid and enthusiastic follower for several years, while exiled in Carolina territory cheering for the Broncos from afar. This year he is finally moving back to Boulder after twenty-years. He is a professional astrologer, poet, fantasy novelist and independent filmmaker and recently appeared on the ABC show Wife Swap. He played defensive line and fullback at Centaurus High School, graduating in 1989 and attended Air Force Academy before transferring to Colorado University to help the Buffs win a national championship from their practice squad.