Bronco news is becoming harder to come by. With the NFL still fighting the players in a court room in St. Louis, there isn't much to talk about. The most noteworthy Bronco news to come out in the last week was Tim Tebow showing up for voluntary workouts with his teammates. It's getting pretty bad. Since there is no Bronco news coming out, there is only one thing for a fan such as myself to focus on and that is the 2011 draft. The general consensus among those on the internet is that the Broncos had an above average, B draft. Many draft pundits have applauded EFX for how they worked the board, acquired additional picks, and made solid selections. The two main criticisms that I have found were the drafting of Orlando Franklin and Nate Irving. The main reason these two picks were looked down upon was because there were some very talented DT's available when we picked. We passed over Marvin Austin and Stephen Paea for Orlando Franklin. We passed over Jurrell Casey, Kenrick Ellis, and Drake Nevis for Nate Irving. I have seen plenty of articles calling Franklin and Irving "reaches". The only way to understand why we passed over the aforementioned DT's is by watching the tape. In this post, I'm going to break down the tape of Orlando Franklin because this was the most criticized pick at MHR. So let's get to it.
In this first video, it is important to know that Orlando's jersey number is 74. Keep that in mind because this video does not show where he is before the play is snapped. You just have to look for him. He plays the Left Guard position. One last thing, it is important to know that in this video, Franklin goes up against Gerald McCoy, the 3rd overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Universal Draft Presents LG Orlando Franklin vs Oklahoma 2009
I am going to break his play down by series.
1st Down (:05) - A designed roll out play, the strong side tight end was sent out to run a route which left a free rusher for Oklahoma. Franklin pulls and picks up the rusher on the strong side and pushes him out of the play.
2nd Down (:12) - A stretch run play, just before the ball was snapped, the DL shifted over to the strong side which left Franklin without a player in front of him. He picks up the outside DE, but it looked to me like the LT picked up the wrong guy. LT should have picked up the linebacker and let Franklin push aside the DE.
3rd Down (:21) - An inside run play, Franklin helps push aside Gerald McCoy and creates a nice hole for the RB to get the first down.
1st Down (:29) - A pass play, Franklin stands up McCoy. Displays a good use of leverage.
1st Down (:37) - An inside run play, Franklin stands up McCoy and pushes him out the way creating a hole for the RB.
2nd Down (:44) - Another inside run, Franklin and the center are responsible for double teaming McCoy. The play stands no chance as the 2 linebackers blitz up the middle.
3rd Down (:56) - A pass play, Franklin moves to the right a little after the snap which gives McCoy a hole to utilize his swim move, but Franklin keeps him outside where McCoy trips on the LT.
1st Down (1:11) - Offense shifts pre-snap and the play changes to an outside toss, Franklin looks to pull, but sees there is nowhere to block. He makes a last second lunge at McCoy which delays McCoy just enough to miss. Might have been a hold.
1st Down (1:21) - A designed inside run, Franklin is responsible for double teaming McCoy, but the defense blitzes 3 linebackers and the RB fights his way for some yardage.
1st Down (1:31) - A designed inside run, the defense overloads to the strong side. Franklin picks up the DT #86 and pushes him out of the way.
2nd Down (1:42) - A pass play, Franklin redirects a rusher to the outside.
3rd Down (1:51) - An inside run play, Franklin blocks at the second level. He takes the linebacker out of the way, although with bad leverage. Nevertheless, it creates a hole for the RB to take off. Great blocking by the entire OL.
1st Down (2:07) - Franklin picks up the DT and stands him up. Although, the strong side blitz gets to the QB.
2nd Down (2:20) - Pass play. Franklin is left without a man to block and helps out with both the outside DE and the DT.
1st Down (2:24) - An end around play that almost never works. Franklin doesn't have a man to block. He helps out with the blitzing LB, but doesn't pick up the DT and almost results in a loss. However the RB bursts through the hole and gains a couple of yards.
2nd Down (2:36) - A pass play. Franklin picks up the DT. He gives the QB enough time to make his pass, but doesn't display good leverage.
3rd Down (2:43) - A pass play, Franklin picks up the outside linebacker blitz. However, the MLB gets through untouched thanks to the RB missing his assignment.
1st Down (2:53) - Franklin picks up McCoy and pushes him outside giving his QB enough time to make the TD throw.
1st Down (2:59) - Franklin pulls and is the lead blocker on a screen play. Franklin eliminates his guy, but another LB gets to the RB before a big gain was made
2nd Down (3:11) - An inside run play, Franklin pancakes his man.
3rd Down (3:21) - A pass play, Franklin forces the DT to the outside then tries to help out on the pass rush up the middle.
1st Down (3:28) - Franklin mauls the DT to the outside totally eliminating him from the play.
1st Down (3:33) - This is a play that really demonstrates what Franklin is capable of. Franklin dominates the DT by forcing him outside and opens up a huge hole. Unfortunately, the opposite outside DE stunts towards the middle and gets an ankle tackle. Great job by Franklin opening up a huge hole though.
3rd Down (3:50) - Franklin picks up the OLB blitz very nicely standing up the blitzer.
1st Down (3:57) - Outside pitch where Franklin is supposed to block the second level, but is not fast enough to get to the LB. However, the play was supposed to be an outside pitch, but the play went bad due to poor blocking and the RB made the most of it by changing directions and going to the opposite side of the field.
2nd Down (4:06) - A pass play. A mismatch here as the defense overload blitzes the strong side with the DT, CB, and MLB while the strong side DE stunts to the middle and gets the sack. Franklin handles the outside DT with ease though.
1st Down (4:17) - An inside run. Franklin picks up the DT, but only gets part of him and allows the DT to slow up the RB for a short gain.
2nd Down (4:22) - An inside run and a nice play by Franklin. He pulls and blocks the MLB opening a nice hole for the RB.
1st Down (4:29) - An inside run play. Franklin doesn't have good leverage, yet pushes the rusher aside and onto the floor.
2nd Down (4:41) - An inside run play. Franklin blocks the DT, but another LB blitz clogs up the lanes and prevents any significant gain.
1st Down (4:48) - An inside run play. Franklin does a great job of forcing the DT out of the way opening up a big hole, but nobody blocks the DE who stops the RB. Looks like the LT should have blocked him.
2nd Down (4:57) - A pass play. Franklin picks up the blitzing linebacker nicely.
3rd Down (5:06) - A pass play where Franklin does a nice job of forcing one of the DT's to the outside and then helps out with the other DT.
1st Down (5:19) - A run play where Franklin blocks two people. He blocks the DT and then helps pick up the blitzing LB.
2nd Down (5:39) - A pass play. Franklin handles the DT nicely then tries to chip the DE.
3rd Down (5:47) - A pass play. Franklin doesn't appear to notice that the DT and the DE ran a stunt. He chips the DT to the outside, but doesn't pickup the DE well. Although, it doesn't matter because the opposite DE gets to the QB after shedding the block. Pay attention to this play. The opposite DE is Jeremy Beal, the Broncos 7th round draft pick. Beal sheds a block nicely and closes on the QB well.
1st Down (6:08) - An inside run play, Franklin blocks two people at the same time. He picks up the DT and then reaches out with his long arms and blocks the LB as well. Very nice play.
1st Down (6:17) - Almost the same exact situation as the last play. Franklin blocks the DT then picks up the blitzing LB.
2nd Down (6:27) - An inside run play where Franklin stands up the DT, but doesn't pick up the LB who bounces off him to get the tackle.
1st Down (6:37) - This is the same exact situation as 2 plays ago. Franklin blocks the DT then picks up the blitzing LB and loses his helmet in the process.
So what does this all mean? First off, it is very apparent that Franklin is a strong run blocker. He doesn't always have great leverage, but when he does have it, he is a monster. He stood up rushers and opened up lanes quite nicely throughout the video. Now, I do have to say that I am not impressed when it comes to pass coverage. There are times when he handles players easily, but he seems to get easily confused when it comes to stunts and other things used to free up rushers. There were a couple situations where Franklin overblocked a DT that was stunting and missed the DE coming up the middle. He does pick up linebacker blitzes pretty well.
This game was back in 2009. It is important to keep that in mind because Franklin had a better year in 2009 then he did in 2010. Franklin struggled as a LT in 2010, although some of that can be attributed to a torn meniscus that he played with the entire 2010 campaign.
Overall, I don't know if Franklin is a RT. He is a dominant, physical blocker, but he does struggle in pass protection. The best situation for him is to not throw him into the fire his rookie year. Ryan Harris is an above average RT when he is healthy. It would be great if the Broncos get him back as a restricted free agent. Let's assume Harris does come back, where does Franklin play? Well do not be surprised if he takes over for Zane Beadles who plays Left Guard. Zane is entering his sophomore season and he had an up and down rookie year. Zane was a below average RT and an average G. I would be interested in seeing a Broncos offensive line consisting of Clady Franklin Walton Kuper Harris. As for Beadles, he could be used in a Hochstein type of role as a backup Guard and Tackle when needed. If Harris does return this year, I expect him to win the starting RT job as Franklin needs some work before he is ready to take the role as Tebow's blind side protector.
As we all know, a lot can change in a year. Harris could have a pro bowl year in 2011, force us to resign him and make LG Franklin's permanent position. If Harris isn't back, Franklin might be thrown into the fire like Beadles and Walton were. One thing I am convinced of is that Franklin will be a starter on our team. His nasty demeanor and his toughness are exactly what Denver needs as we try to revitalize our run game. Franklin along with Walton and Kuper should make some huge holes for our RB's to run through. Franklin may or may not be able to play the RT spot, but he should make a very good, tough guard.