It is that time of year again folks! The extreme anticipation of free agency in less than a month, and the draft soon after that. My offseason ideas have been floating around in my brain every day, so it's time to vent again. Be my psychiatrist after the jump.
All of these players are key cogs to the machine and would come cheap, except for maybe Bunkley, who is well deserved of a pay raise.
Smith is a perennial 100 catch talent, and more importantly, he is the great possession receiver we need. He's only two years removed from a 100 rec 1200 yd campaign, and was in the midst of another pro bowl season when he suffered a season ending injury. However, Coughlin still saw enough in him to be pissed that he spurred the Giants during contract negotiations for the Eagles. After a warm up year with the Eagles to get his legs back under him, the Broncos should go ahead and acquire the 26 year old Smith and stick him in the slot position where he thrived in New York.
I'm sure Mincey would love to reunite with the coach who led him to individual success, especially in Denver, where he'd become part of an up-and-coming playoff contender. Mincey, 28, doesn't have much wear and tear in him since the last two seasons were the only ones where he got considerable playing time. He racked up 13 sacks in said seasons, and I'm sure all of us here at MHR would like one of our coaches to actually get their rising star at DE, instead of having the Charles Johnson teaser all over again. Mincey is good enough in both run defense and pass rushing to relegate Ayers to rotational duties, which provides our front 7 with much needed depth.
Cheap starting MIKE. He'll likely be very open to reuniting with his former coach, especially in a place where he can log a good amount of playing time. A great tackler, as Mr. Fox always emphasizes when he selects his defensive players, and would be a major upgrade over Mays. Comes from the Linebacker Factory, and would either establish a rock solid rotation with Irving (if he pans out), or would become our inside backer for the future.
Arguably the best run defending corner in the league, and also very good in coverage, we get this above average #2 CB cheap. Coming off a season ending injury, and with the Giants secondary already intact (Webster, Amukamara, Ross), Thomas is likely the odd man out. Our gain. Thomas has had an entire year to recover and is ready to play. 2009: 85 tackles, 1 sack, 13 PDef, 5 int; 2010: 101 tackles, 1 sack, 21 PDef, 5 int. I'd like the Broncos to be the recipient of that kind of production in 2012 and beyond as our #2 man.
As consistent as you can get at the safety position. An extremely sound tackler; if Oakland lets him go (which their salary cap hints that they will), Fox should, at the very least, offer him a contract. Great speed that is utilized in blitzes. Branch struggles a bit in man coverage, but excels in zone. I'd love to see him in blue and orange.
**Chain effect trade: Rams trade 2nd overall pick to Browns for #4, #37, and #68. Rams, in turn, trade their own 2nd and 3rd rounders (33rd and 66th) to the Broncos for the 25th pick. St. Louis then has 2 first rounders and 1 pick in every other round. This is just pure speculation. To me, it seems like there would be an abundance of good talent that the Rams could select at 25, that they couldn't 8 picks later (Mercilus, Cordy Glenn, Mike Adams, Cox, Floyd, Konz, Dennard, etc).
2nd round (via St. Louis): Lamar Miller (RB), Miami, 5'11 212
My favorite back in the entire draft, especially because of where we would be picking him. He has top notch speed, can run the 40 anywhere between 4.3-4.4; Miller was productive every year in college, even as a backup his freshman year. A durable, bellcow back who would not only be the perfect complement to McGahee this year, but also our franchise runner for the forseeable future. The few flaws he has include needing to be more patient when running inside. He needs to learn to be content with positive gains. He also needs to improve his blocking and run with a lower center of gravity. However, these are all things that can be coached. He is a homerun threat and a good receiver out of the backfield
2nd round: Mike Martin (DT), Michigan, 6'1 307
After a tremendous week at the Senior Bowl, Martin had scouts and MHR raving. He has great ability to penetrate against one-on-one blocks, and would be a dominant pass rushing force as our 3-technique. Has a good bull rush, but his "knock out" move is the swim move (as seen above). Martin is also a good run defender. A great hustler against the run, uses good short area quickness to prevent the back from escaping. Has a great motor, and rarely goes to the ground, using his balance attained from his high school wrestling days. No problems off the field. Great leader.
3rd round (via St. Louis): Trumaine Johnson (CB), Montana, 6'2 204
"Tru" Johnson has masterful playmaking ability and ball hawking skills, as evident from his multiple All-American awards. Johnson's measurables are what really makes him an intriguing pick, considering his 6'2 frame allows him to match up with almost every receiver in the NFL. Has good speed, with the possibility of running a sub 4.5 40. Johnson has the potential to become a #1 corner in the NFL; draws comparisons to Ike Taylor, as a great press coverage DB.
3rd round: Brandon Brooks (OG), Miami (Ohio), 6'5 353
I know this isn't the sexy pick with so many pass rushers, tackling machines, productive rushers, and dynamic receivers still on board, but it's the right pick. I feel like there isn't much help available, depth wise or starting material (at least that we can afford), in this year's o-line free agency class, so Brooks helps us build inside the trenches. He is a player who helped himself a lot at the East-West Shrine game. Brooks possesses a physically imposing frame and huge size that he handles well. Has good, natural strength and raw power with the ability to be a mauler in the run game (music to John Fox's ears). He is a developmental guard prospect with high upside, but we're not looking for an instant fix right now. That being said, Brooks could push Beadles for the starting job, and would also be insurance for Kuper. He could turn into a great future cog on our line.
4th round: Marvin McNutt (WR), Iowa, 6'3 216
McNutt is a raw receiver prospect due to the fact that he was recruited to play quarterback. Luckily, that means he has great size. He lacks a dynamic dimension, but is a good possession receiver, and his size and strength make him a viable deep threat. He has soft hands and is a savvy route runner. At Senior Bowl practices, he was consistently open despite aggressive coverage from DBs. McNutt has tremendous acrobatic ability and hand-eye coordination, making circus catches look easy. He doesn't drop many balls, and uses his size to play the ball at its highest point. He showed steady progression and improved every year at the position, and should continue to do the same here in Denver.
5th round (via St. Louis): Emmanuel Acho (OLB), Texas, 6'1 235
OLB depth is a must, specifically behind DJ. So who better to fill the need with than the brother of current Arizona Cardinals pass rush specialist, Sam Acho? Emmanuel is a playmaker in his own right, being a tackling machine and a decent pass rusher. Last season he piled up 116 tackles, 18 of them for loss, 14 QB hurries, and 2 sacks.
5th round: BJ Coleman (QB), Chattanooga, 6'3 235
We all know that until Tebow establishes himself as a true passer with the luxury of being able to run, Elway's mission is to find his man. Tebow might have won Elway over for the short term, but until the aforementioned goal is completed, the Teebs will always be a guy the front office is looking to replace. With that in mind, this selection is perfect. Coleman is the exact type of QB prospect Elway is looking for, one he can mold into his prototypical passer. He showed tremendous upside at the East-West Shrine game, displaying his great ability to drive passes downfield. He also proved to be very coachable during practices. He displayed a rocket arm and smooth mobility and is known for being a great teammate and leader.
7th round: Shawn Loiseau (ILB), Merrimack, 6'0 241
Since his standout performance at the East-West Shrine game, the small school, Division II product has opened the eyes of scouts around the NFL. His intensity is off the charts and he gives full effort on every down. He improved his stats every year at Merrimack, even displaying good ability to rush up the middle. After great performances in the practices, big time scouts like Mike Mayock and Todd McShay (yuck), couldn't stop raving about him. This from nfldraftscout.com: "He has average size, length and athleticism, but makes up for his shortcomings with instincts and overall toughness. Loiseau fills the run lanes hard and won't shy from contact, taking on blocks and using his eyes effectively. He should be a special teams standout at worst and will make it tough for pro coaches to cut him."
Well that's this week's mock! I hope you enjoyed the read, and found my ideas refreshing. Discuss all you'd like in the comments. GO BRONCOS!!!